“if we don’t like the evidence we are seeing why not just ignore it, like the environment”.
I used to see myself as environmentally minded, trying to minimise consumption of fossil fuel use, waste, heat and even giving lectures at Plas Y Brenin for a while on the risks of climate change, I used to love depressing people given the chance. The talk would look at the IPCCs (inter-governmental panel on climate change) predictions, the Stern report (2006) was just out giving a very similar outlook. Big changes in weather pattern distribution, increased extreme weather events, displacement of many millions of people. It was a rotten old list. Nigel Lawson brought out a ludicrous programme called the Great Climate swindle at the time saying it was solar flares but the Met office disagreed quite strongly with this idea. That the guy was chancellor is a fact I find quite disturbing as I doubt he based his decisions on any evidence.
The word ‘environmental’ covers a wide range of things but it often seems to me that people get het up over very small environmental issues whilst ignoring the serious issues. Let us take rock and mountain erosion. I admire the effort of the MOM team but I’m afraid when people start banging on about tiny levels of erosion as a serious issue I wonder if they have any level of sanity. The rocks are falling down, literally a few of the routes I’ve put up have fallen down already, a few bits of erosion or scratches just doesn’t matter in the long run. A 2-6 degree increase in average air temperature - that fucking matters and is worth putting at the heart of any environmentally minded persons’ heart. I'm afraid a 'Respect the rock' campaign about toothbrushing off a bit of chalk just isn't going to touch the sides, like focusing on a speck of dust when you are walking over a cliff edge.
There was a pretty condemning experience I had in the not too distant past! To contrast myself with my friend Glyn Hudson who is probably the climber I most admire for the environmental ethic he carries with him at all times. Such a good egg. I follow Glyn on the usual social media channels and he puts on his electric car journeys; levels of convenience, cheapness, a kind of 'how to' guide.
He is an electrical engineer and him and his physicist friend Trystan Lea have a company called Megni and the open energy monitoring project. My only environmental investment to date has been into this company as I’ve never met anyone as dedicated to promoting positive changes by leading a modern life whilst having a low impact. One of the best journeys I’ve heard him do is to get to China on the train to meet one of his component suppliers.
Glyn, you are my hero, although it would be nice to try and get you to tap into your inner bastard at some point, there must be one in there somewhere.
I mentioned earlier I’m not sure when I fell so far from what used to be part of my ‘principles for existing’. It’s very easy to be myopic in life (short sighted, which as I used to be -5.5 in both eyes I can tell you a bit about), but I don’t really want to use ‘living in the moment’ as a substitute phrase for just being a thoughtless twat. Its impressive how very clever people can become dense, perhaps with info overload, like a singularity of stupidity. They make actions now whilst paying no heed to the effect they have in the future, feigning naivety.
Imagine that you could increase your energy efficiency by 20% right now, today! I bet a ton of people could do that with next to no impact on their quality of life. Over the course of 20 or 30 years how much less CO2 is being pumped into the atmosphere for that person alone. It’s that volume over time where peoples habits really add up.
Written goals are considerably more likely to occur than unwritten goals, the more detailed and process based they are the more likely they are to come about. What do you want to be doing work or life wise and what do you need to do to get there. Scribble something down for gods sake.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to enjoy time with friends in some of the most beautiful environments you can find. When I blagged Laser eye surgery it meant I could visit Patagonia with too tall Tim Neill, seeing the huge crazy snow mushrooms on top of the granite towers and feeling that god awful wind off the ice cap. We eventually got that controversial CAC calendar up Domo Blanco.
Madagascar is probably the most romantic landscape I’ve been to, being full of very strange critters and overshadowing in its own way even the great Yosemite Valley where John Muir found a landscape he thought deserved preserving for future generations to experience.
I didn’t actually want to go to Madagascar. I’d been invited by Jack Geldard and thought it was going to be a waste of money. Arriving at Antananarivo with fatboy and Pitchfork we made a 15 hour journey south towards the 3000 foot granite domes of Tsaranoro with the longest and most impressive electrical storms I’ve seen going on around us for hours. Every day you’d see a creature you’d never encountered elsewhere, chameleons, lemurs, zebu. It became quickly apparent that to visit Madagascar was not only not a waste of money but a truly priceless experience.
I look around at my nephews, nieces, the kids on the youth meets and the students who come on the seminar and hope that they can have similar opportunities to enjoy the great landscapes I’ve experienced with their friends.
Heading up to Skye in 2016 with Dan Varian we had a related conversation about how long we can carry on just driving and flying about everywhere. The trip was unfortunately cut short as although fast on the fingers and arms Dan was too slow on the pedals and crashed the van the 3rd day of the trip. I obviously have absolute faith that Trump and his A-team will lead the world into a low carbon, clean energy world in the near future.
A young friend I was chatting with the other day was doing some work in sustainable housing and made me think about what I could do. Ignoring the environment is morally pretty bankrupt as I spent years looking at the catastrophic consequences which I’m partly accountable for, as are you. The consequences appear to be on the doorstep.
I regularly go to a café in Appleby with mum and I asked if they’d been flooded before. They’d had to redo the whole café 3 times in the last decade. Jesus, I thought, do you just keep doing that?
A book called the Bone Clocks by David Mitchell had a good phrase for the mad max style future which could be seen by ignoring the looming crisis.
(I’ve dibs on this for a new route name)
The anti-science brigade do seem to be having a fine old uprising the last few years, with Goves comments about people having had enough of the experts being both poignant and dangerous.
My friend who inspired me into this ‘environmental rant’ said they try to be nice and not push things on people too much as a good way of doing things. I knew I was screwed there but think anyone with an interest in it should start reading up, helping or else start building an ark.
When someone starts harping on about some little bit of erosion somewhere I’d shut them up immediately and start telling them about some serious environmental problems to start putting their brains into solving. What would Stevie do?
I'd get the best minds in the BMC onto the case, Niall could keep us topped up with tea.
I’d troll those wankers like Nick Bullock and Hazel Findlay every time they step off a flight from Nepal about the size of their carbon footprint. I guess if my sleep deteriorated any more I could form an underground army like Edward Norton in Fight Club, there was plenty of room in the slate quarries to station it. The CCCC, Cumbrian Climate Change Crew, what were those drugs they used to give soldiers to keep them going?
Podemos were right. We can do it.
I looked at the viewcounter for my website. The impact wasn't looking good.
There was my sister, Heather, always supportive. Shit, my mums been reading this. Niall Grimer, ha, always there, lurking, he’d be in the BMC office nervously looking over his shoulder wondering when I’d appear to inflict revenge. I doubt it will hurt him for too long. Some people tell you 2 wrongs don’t make a right but I can tell you they are religious types who will therefore swallow anything. As we all know, 2 wrongs make an even, which is both fair and square and always the best bit of any story. Ahh, that lazy git Bransby was there too, I didn't think he could read. Only 4 people.
Well, you have got to start a change somewhere.
It will do for a memo to myself for now.