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You're Still Here | Today we revel; tomorrow we will be reviled


Kelly Draper is a British teacher who came to Denmark for work. She acts informally as a critical friend to Denmark. This has not gone down particularly well with Danes, who often tell her she should like it or leave it. Her blog is at adventuresandjapes.wordpress.com.

June 7, 2014
07:00

by Kelly Draper



Denmark has been recycling green propaganda for years, and we cycle and we swallow it

"Now remember Kel, if you sign this, you have to stay for ten years.”

There’s nothing like signing the deeds to a house for focusing the mind on the future. I am here for the medium-to-long term. 

Meanwhile, maps showing how the world might look in the medium-to-long term don’t even have Denmark on them. 

Our revelling will be reviled
Historians might look back on this period in humanity and fail to understand how we felt no sense of urgency – even when we knew all the facts.

Case in point, I am thinking about the future at least a decade away while continuing to live a lifestyle that will affect the quality of life for everyone within that timeframe.

Of course though, I am in my 30s. I have lived through many end-of-the-world scenarios that came to nothing.

It is hard to take climate change seriously after so many false alarms. But then, it’s not like civilisations have never been brought down by over-consumption.

The only difference is that we have the ability to bring everything down – on a global scale. 

Complacency at home
I am convinced climate change is an emergency. And yet, we, and I, make it worse with our actions. Even in ‘green’ Denmark.

Foreigners can be misled by all the cycling; we can believe that Denmark is blazing a trail in environmental friendliness.

However, consumerism and over-consumption is just as big an issue in Denmark as in other developed nations. 

Not that I am blaming individuals as such. Blaming individuals is the easy way out. For every “Don’t leave your appliances on stand-by" I want to scream: “Who asked for those LEDs in the first place?”

We need a cultural shift
The problem is not individual behaviour – what is needed is a cultural shift.

Why is food shipped halfway around the world, when the same food is grown locally? Why do we have products that are designed to break so we need new ones in a few years? Why are we told that possessions are what define us and make us happy, when we know within ourselves it is not true?

What makes us happy, after our material needs are met, are experiences with people we like and feeling good about ourselves because we did something good.

Yet, we chase after things that do not really make us happy. 

When I sleepwalk, I light candles, wash dishes and turn off appliances.I can see the real world around me, but I ignore it and go with the logic of the dream.

When I wake up, I remember the sense of need to do it, but not the reasoning.

I feel like when we have no other choice but to confront the reality of the changes to our climate, we will wonder why we thought it so important to live our lives like we do now without exerting pressure on politicians and corporations to pull our collective western lifestyle back from the point of no return.




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