Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's a morality thing

I'm sitting here on the sofa wearing an old pajama top, track pants, a big old towelling dressing gown, and an ice pack on my knee. Various bits of me hurt - some more than others.

It's quite simple really. On Saturday I ran 15km, then on Saturday night I spent over four hours standing around at an outdoor dance party in Southern Karori. On Sunday morning I was up early to tramp around the Sanctuary for most of the day. On Monday the jog squad ran for over an hour up Mt Vic, down to Hataitai and back to the gym via Newtown. This morning I did an upper body weights session and tonight I ran another 55 minutes around the Bays.

I read somewhere that you know you're a runner when it hurts to walk but you can still run. Well, tonight my quads hurt, my calves threatened to cramp and my knee screamed. However stopping was never an option. I am Pip, see me run.

With everything that's been happening in my life lately I haven't really had much chance to blog, but there's something that's been playing on my mind that I really need to put in writing.
On Sunday Hamish, Nic and I went to see An Inconvenient Truth at the Penthouse in Brooklyn. Hamish and I were operating on very little sleep, and I was probably open to a more emotional reaction than I was when I first saw it, at home with the distraction of my iBook and Blogger.

The message that my tired state was open to receiving was that of averting climate change being a moral responsibility. We are the ones we have been waiting for. It is up to us to change the way we live, for the sake of future generations.

I have no time now for people who try to argue that climate change is still open to debate. Global warming is a reality. Forget sex before marriage or even gay marriage. The true immorality is the voice that continues to preach a culture of consumerism and plenty in a time when we are theatening to wipe ourselves and a whole heap of other living beings off this planet.

It is hard for me to understand how we can continue to drive around in our four wheel drives, throwing our fast food wrappers out of the window, on the way to the local large discount retail outlet to buy more overly packaged electronic toys. I don't understand how humans can continue to pollute our planet through the plunder of finite oil and coal reserves. It's our children (and I use the term loosely, since neither Hamish nor I plan to have any of our own) who will be the ones who suffer, and who will wonder why we didn't act while there was still time.

I went through a stage of feeling really depressed about the world in which I lived. Then I read A Short History of Progress, which essentially confirmed for me that we were all wiping ourselves out. Strangely it made me feel better about things. It's not crazy to think that we're due for a population correction in the near future. Heck, it will be hard for us humans, but it will make the planet feel a lot better.

Even before I read that amazing book I had taken steps to fulfil what I felt was my own moral obligation towards this planet. That's why I volunteer at the Sanctuary. In my own small way I'm contributing to healing the damage that we have done in the short time we have walked on the land in Aotearoa.

For me it's quite simple. I don't want to be sucking from this planet's lifeforce under a misguided illusion that the world around us is of abundance. I want to give to this planet, not rob from it. When I feel that this earth is healing (and although it sounds a little odd I can feel when I walk through the Sanctuary that the land there is, indeed, healing), then I would hope that it will be able to give over the plenty that, if we treat it with respect I believe it can provide.

Right now we're in triage mode. You don't take blood from someone who's bleeding out on the table...

Notes on reflection, a few minutes post-publish: I would like to make it clear that my position on moral responsibility for climate change comes not primarily from a place of anger or despair (although there have been times when I've felt both) but from a love for the world around me. I hope that I transmit a sense of that love in my writing. Change has to come from a positive place, not from a place of fear or guilt or imposed obligation.

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