Owning a pizza parlour is the best investment in an economic downturn. It is a well known fact that in times of hardship we abandon the organic root weed compotes and go straight for the processed dough, in the vain hope that our cheese induced delirium will distract from our other problems.
Never has this analogy been more apt than when considered in relation to the problem of climate change. The middle class supposedly has more concrete problems to deal with than those gnawing environmental guilts, so easily pushed to the back of an already full conscience. We are responsible for enough disasters as it is: war and poverty, to name but two. We do not need to be saddled with another.
The impetus for change has been dealt an almighty blow by the growing backlash against the very notion of climate change. It has become increasingly fashionable to deny global warming’s existence altogether, by appealing to dubious scientific assertions and cheerful American guys with questionable scruples telling us everything is going to be OK. And so we buy into this cross Atlantic “can do” spirit and we tell ourselves that contaminated oceans and encroaching deserts are God’s problem, not ours.
But everything isn’t going to be OK. Whilst we sit twiddling our thumbs and watch as Rome burns, we ignore the great big footprint that we’ve trodden into the planet. Unconcerned by humanity’s disproportionate contribution to the Earth’s deteriorating condition, we turn the other cheek to rising consumption of almost every one of the planet’s resources. The government’s promises to foster a more sustainable society by banning plastic bags and increasing taxes on gas guzzlers seem to have fallen on deaf ears. The vogue is for living for the present and not worrying about the future. So long as the tree has a healthy exterior now, we can worry about the deadly disease festering in its roots later.
Soon we’ll look in the mirror at our bloated, distended reflection, and regret ever having eaten that pizza. And we’ll wish we had chosen the healthy option instead.