Summer in February and toxic shorttermism
As I glance out the window right now, I see a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky. Yesterday, I wore a t-shirt and no coat outside and saw people eating ice lollies in the street. A few miles away, the moors are on fire
It’s not July. It’s February. And this is very concerning.
This week, I keep catching myself thinking ‘ah, what a glorious day – I’m in such a good mood.’ And then a very 21st century brand of existential dread kicks in as a realise that this is exactly what people started warning us all about 30 years ago.
Only now, it’s not just a temperature graph gradually creeping upwards on TV, or a photo in a newspaper of a polar bear on a melting chunk of ice, it’s something very real, right here and now. And it’s all the more sinister because it’s so pleasant.
I was just a child when climate change first became big news
. Like most other people, I thought it seemed too abstract to worry about. And surely some serious adults somewhere were dealing with it?
They weren’t. Not anywhere near enough.
Even now, it’s still too easy for too many people to ignore the crisis. Short-termism is a human trait that may be our undoing. Politicians concentrate on votes for tax cuts today over expensive plans to save our future. Business leaders focus on profits this quarter instead of whether their successors still have a business in a few decades’ time.
'I’ll be dead when climate change becomes a real issue, it doesn’t matter to me,’ is the toxic internal monologue of the middle-aged leader with grown-up kids.
But now it’s summer in February. If anything makes us sit up and demand more from those in charge before it’s too late, it should be this.