I read SAS survival books, and made notes. A book on navigation for walkers, and made notes. Blogs on walking, fundraising, speaking in schools, (notes). I interviewed Steph and campaigners at People and Planet and wrote it all up in my project plan. I was in research geek heaven.
Time spent reading educational material on climate change was not so fruitful, it only seemed to enrage me. It seemed to tell children that the world is likely to end (so far so honest) without telling them anything realistic the adults were planning to do to stop it. My notebooks became filled with page after page of ernest rants.
“We are no longer ignorant of the consequences of our actions and the consequences of our collective behaviour. The suffering caused by our actions may now take place thousands of miles and decades away from us, but to the persons or creatures who suffer, that suffering is no less real. Our culture, our economy and our government are failing our children and all those who come after.“
“Hmmm, wouldn’t exactly read like an advert for speaking in schools.” I thought when re-reading.
Clearly if I was going to speak in schools it would have to be very different (no one likes the ghost at the feast, and a preachy one at that). However, since quitting my job a year and a half earlier I increasingly lacked the desire to sacrifice honesty.
Contacting schools saved me the dilemma. Despite my carefully worded emails and phone calls there was no interest from any of them about a workshop on climate change. What I craved was a mutual learning dialogue, I could see from the attitude in my notebooks that this was an opportunity to get away from telling, and walk towards listening.
In early January I had begun an eight week distance learning course on climate change that Miranda had put me on to. It began well, explaining the science of our troubles very clearly. But as the weeks went by it began to worry me. And then it began to alarm and anger me.
“Have you done this weeks course yet?!” I asked Miranda as I boiled the kettle.
“No, I haven’t got to that one. The course was starting to annoy me.”
“The course is called Challenges and Solutions right? So far they’ve proposed geo-engineering as a solution, and this week? Genetic modification of crops and more pesticides.”
Miranda stoically shook her head.
“I put some comments on there about permaculture…” I continued.
“Yeah, me too…”
“…but it looks like the only solutions they’re going to mention are from their own research.”
“..That’s funded by the biotech industry.” Miranda finished.
“There’s hundreds of people reading this stuff, it’s so messed up.”
I wanted to get away from the feelings of impotent anger and do something. We never did finish the last week of the course.