Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gloom and doom

"The environmental gloom and doom stories do make me worry, and make me feel quite, um, guilty and kind of, um, that I can't do anything, it's all too big for me."

- comment from an unnamed British lady in this video around 1:01.

Fear. Guilt. Impotence.

These three are, I suspect, very common responses to such doom and gloom stories. And they feed on each other.

Our fears are given depth by the knowledge that we have contributed to the predicament in which we find ourselves. Perhaps our contribution has been small in absolute standards, but we have, through our silence and our spending, implicitly condoned and encouraged patterns of natural resource exploitation that are decimating biodiversity, destabilising the climate, depleting the aquifers, stripping the soils, acidifying the oceans and flattening the forests.

Our guilt is compounded by the apparent futility of personal attempts at making amends. What difference will my puny acts of contrition or defiance actually make against the juggernaut of global consumption?

And feeling impotent to avert approaching catastrophe doesn't help our levels of anxiety. No wonder denial can be such an attractive option for some.