There is a door beside us and our house is burning down. The kids are forsaking their education to tell us, and we all know, that our house is burning down.
I could talk in metaphors about how our windows are cracked and letting the storms in, how our floorboards are crumbling from acid, how our beloved pets and plants are suffocating, how our freezer is leaking, how the flatmate living in the room furthest from this one is dying because we have turned the heating up.
Should I talk in metaphors like this? Would that get the message across?
We’re too fond of words and metaphors; too busy choosing to talk about the Irish backstop, deals, agreements, economy, business, single market, free trade, free movement, free vote. Now that we’re facing a crisis, we’re all too busy trying to build a wall of words.
The climate crisis is easily solved; easy in that we just need to try. There are people out in the world who can innovate, invent, and fix, because they’re great with maths, biology, chemistry, engineering.
Or maybe they’re great at changing the minds of politicians because they can reason and articulate. Or maybe they’re great at suing huge business for ecocide because they know the laws inside out.
There are people out there with ideas, hopes, dreams, for how to build an equal and sustainable society. Not just imagination, but concrete plans, inventions, and systems.
We need to listen to their words and start building, not knocking through the mortar that holds us together.
Humanity has created an infrastructure and society that inherently progresses, expanding on all the discoveries made before. Education is our proudest achievement, with international collaboration strengthening it exponentially.
But we claim we can go it alone, whilst running ourselves downhill, languishing in our current luxuries, expectations, technologies, and systems, even though we have the evidence they cannot continue to sustain us.
Our house is burning down but there is a door beside us. The door is heavy, opaque, ugly, and locked. But together we can share the burden, oil the hinges, and forge the key.