"My fault, my failure, is not in the passions that I have, but in my lack of control of them." Jack Kerouac
If you haven`t read George Monbiot, then be very careful. Once you start you may want to run and hide. He attacks our conscience. He strips inane rationalization for the good life to its visceral core. Monbiot is relentless (read his columns), though honest about his own failings, in well researched arguments for wholesale change in the way our developed world middle class, me and you, work and play.
Monbiot reasons that the transition needs to come to save our planet from "Global Warming." Read his latest book "Heat" for his bitter truth . And after Gore`s "an Inconvenient Truth" and Monbiot I can`t justify some of my playtime. So I`ll do my best to gently walk the earth, but hence comes my dilemma!
Monbiot is singularly ruthless in his condemnation of "air travel" and his reasoning that air traffic is a huge contributor to the deterioration of the atmosphere. This guy is pissed and argues that carbon offsets are not valuable enough to counter the damage. Its just a shell game with no prize to be had. And every time I travel (by air), says Monbiot, then I`m killing people with my impact on "climate change." Maybe, but I sense panic in Monbiot`s rant and I argue for "adaptation" and understanding of our vulnerabilities to climate change (the 90% cuts in air travel he calls for are f---ing unlikely). The change needs to be managed so that it doesn`t create a slippery slope for the "extremely poor", in the here and now.
What is the value of travel? Can we imagine the needs of others (and some needs are life and death) at the highest most effective level without the personal touch, the human contact? Would the planet be a better place if people understood each other less? (if that's possible?) North Americans are climate pigs affecting "climate change" on a per capita gorge but this would be worse if we didn`t have to consider its impact on others.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine
Monbiot needs to consider Bali. Its not an extreme example but I`ve been there so its my example. I flew to Bali in 2003 after the first terrorist assholes had devastated the local economy with their bombs. Bali is a Hindu enclave in Muslim dominated Indonesia. Bali`s economy is a heavily tourist dependent island where bombs and Monbiot will not be appreciated for their ideology. Scare the tourists away and Balinese artists and workers won`t worry about global warming while their families go hungry. But somehow these people would keep smiling and share their crumbs with you regardless their pain. These people deserve terrorism like George W deserves respect. Nada. But they do deserve to have tourists keep coming and keep spending!
Wayan (first born) guides us through his country showing us all that is beautiful and all that is not. He tells me that his community needs a schoolhouse as he dreams of the value of education. Made (second born) feeds us like kings in his humble restaurant . He shares his family and his music (this guy plays kick ass rock when he not playing Balinese) while we start to sense the genuine generosity that backs the endless "smiles" of Bali. This obvious humility and kindness of most we meet will forever affect my life. I`m a climate pig gorging at the trough of Balinese spirit. The least I can do is engage their economy. Spend some damn money!
I spent a week in Ahmed, a fishing village on Bali`s east coast. Young people in Ahmed are suffering chronic unemployment (listless youth without a reason to be; we know where that leads) and Fisherman come home with less than they need. One young man dreams of owning 10 goats so that he might support his family for life. (cost $800) Another dreams of owning his own fishing boat so that he could employ himself for life. (cost $600) I met a young man so desperate for employment that he admitted he "might be a terrorist" if the price is right. "Of course I`m just kidding he said" as he endures another day without hope. This is more complicated than Monbiot or I can manage. But this I think I know. Life in Bali or Cambodia or Kenya can be better with us than without us. Their economy can be smarter and we can offer so much more but if we disappear this shite might get desperate. We offer them hope (which is much less than these people offer in return) and people without hope may be more dangerous for Planet Earth than Global Warming.
I appreciate our new found greenmania but while we`re considering the plight of future generations let`s not forget that "Poverty" is killing people right now. Adaptation of change makes sense for those 1 billion people who make less than $1 per day. I think Monbiot is inspiring but sometimes maybe even he can`t "see the forest for the trees." And maybe I can control my need to travel rather than giving it up entirely? I still haven`t seen Fiji or Tanzania or India...?