Esteemed social scientist and policy maker Mayer Hillman who has over 60 years of experience predicting the outcomes of macro social behaviors, says, with a beaming smile, ‘We’re doomed. The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.’
Today with CO2 concentrated in the atmosphere at over 400 parts-per-million we’re beyond ‘the point of no return’.
‘Hillman accuses all kinds of leaders – from religious leaders to scientists to politicians – of failing to honestly discuss what we must do to move to zero-carbon emissions. “I don’t think they can because society isn’t organised to enable them to do so. Political parties’ focus is on jobs and GDP, depending on the burning of fossil fuels.”’
‘Without hope, goes the truism, we will give up. And yet optimism about the future is wishful thinking, says Hillman. He believes that accepting that our civilisation is doomed could make humanity rather like an individual who recognises he is terminally ill. Such people rarely go on a disastrous binge; instead, they do all they can to prolong their lives.’
‘Can civilisation prolong its life until the end of this century? “It depends on what we are prepared to do.” He fears it will be a long time before we take proportionate action to stop climatic calamity. “Standing in the way is capitalism. Can you imagine the global airline industry being dismantled when hundreds of new runways are being built right now all over the world? It’s almost as if we’re deliberately attempting to defy nature. We’re doing the reverse of what we should be doing, with everybody’s silent acquiescence, and nobody’s batting an eyelid.”’
With the high probability that the end is near, it seems that one ought to live without fear nor without holding oneself back from one’s most earnest desires. Of course this doesn’t mean we should stop respecting people and planet— it behooves us to do so even more.
We need to STOP pretending, right now, that large companies that leveraged exploitation of cheap labour and lax environmental regulations for fast fashion 40 years ago (when warnings of environmental destruction were already imminent) will be able to become sustainable and continue ‘business as normal’ by the year 2030 (which is the goal at which all UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved by all stakeholders within the fashion industry- a timeline which already seems to be just too late).
As consumers, we have the power to change the fashion industry, the second most polluting industry in the world, by choosing what kind of clothes we buy. Stop buying new clothes from companies whose mission is to sell you stuff. Stop buying new clothes from companies that continue to use toxic synthetic chemicals in their supply chains. Stop buying clothes from companies that greenwash you into believing that wearing their ‘recycled clothes’ that used more energy and resources to recycle than make virgin fabric from organic cotton are ‘sustainable’, whilst they go burn all the clothes from last season’s collection the didn’t sell. Stoping buy clothes and bags made of plastic: Polyester, polyurethane, acrylic, nylon, spandex, lycra-they release bioaccumulating micro-plastics that are probably in your drinking water and salmon on your plate. Stop buying clothes and bags made of fabric that comes from regenerable wood pulp but is processed using caustic chemicals that are released back into the environment. Think before you buy something, know what you’re buying and why.
Live by your values that you understand to their very roots of origin. Tell that girl/guy/they you like them. Give your parents a kiss. Hug your pet. Finally take that next step to becoming who you want to be, a step into happiness. You might as well do it now, as the world as we know it is probably going to change, very soon. Even if we’re not doomed, you’ll still be glad you did it.