A few days ago someone sent me the lobbying document that had come out of Somerset CAN's meetings, asking for comment – so here goes. For me, it brings to mind Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee’s words from his book Alchemy of Light: “We are distracted and deceived by the idea that we are living in a complex world that requires complex solutions to its problems. This is true only if we forget that the world is one living being.”
Somerset CAN, prominently supported by Lib Dem County Councillor and prospective MP Tessa Munt, has set itself the task of persuading local authorities in Somerset to develop policies that take seriously the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming’s special report of 2018, calling for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” within the next 12 years. Their proposals appear to be an honest attempt by people who are intelligent, well-meaning, committed and hard working, though whether they would amount to “unprecedented” changes remains debatable. They are certainly an example of the distracting complexity that Llewellyn speaks of.
If the document had been written 20 or 30 years ago, and if by now every local authority and government department in the land had a similar – but more detailed – script to follow, then there would be some grounds for believing that the current political system could have a chance of carrying through the changes required to bring global warming under control. Sadly, of course, this is not the case, and there is little doubt that our political system, as well as our economic system, is now broken beyond repair.
Nevertheless there is no reason to discourage those who are attempting to create a coherent plan to deal with the causes and effects of climate change. If by putting this up on my blog I am doing so then I am sorry, but these words needed to come out: their efforts could, and possibly will over the coming 10 or 11 years, bring about some marginal mitigation of the impending climate crisis. Beyond that it seems very unlikely that there is any hope for such an approach.
Glastonbury Town Council has clearly based its Declaration of a Climate Emergency on Somerset CAN’s work, though its powers are extremely limited and its prospects of ultimate success are somewhat remote. Consequently it doesn't feel like a real response to the emergency. There are many reasons to say this, but essentially – as has already been said a number of times by a number of different people – seeking solutions by using the same mode of thought as that which created the problems will not succeed.
My own thoughts are that we should follow Llewellyn’s statement that the world is one living being and we are a part of that oneness; that the first step we need to take is to fully accept that reality and its implications; that the Earth Herself knows how to bring about real change, and for this to come about She needs the willing and wholehearted co-operation of our individual human consciousness; and that the result could be – though there is no guarantee – surprising and verging on the miraculous. It could be beyond anything at all that presently appears possible.