Many parts of the world are, quite literally on fire. We are living in a time of almost unimaginable suffering and injustice. And as usual it is the least well off and the most disadvantaged who bear the brunt of our climate crisis and social injustices. For the wealthy and privileged, life can often continue more or less as usual.
I am well aware that I am one of the fortunate ones – largely due to happenstance of birth location, race and access to a good education. I did not grow up in a particularly well-off household in Western terms. But I am well aware of my privilege.
Bluntly put, privileged people (like me) are often cocooned from the ‘real’ world. And this can foster a sense of safety and security which can all too often bring complacency – a satisfied, relaxed attitude which tends to block real action and dampens any desire for real and lasting change.
I always ensure that my relatively safe and secure situation does not make me complacent. I try to do what I can to further the goals of sustainable progress and make this world a better, fairer place, and I urge others to do the same.
You should not feel safe. You should not feel secure. You should not be complacent. No matter how comfortable you may feel in your life right now, this climate crisis is a crisis that affects us all. And even when the worst impacts of global warming are not touching you right now, it is important to feel compassion, to get upset, to get angry – and, most importantly, to allow those emotions to drive you on to real action.
Complacency among the privileged in the developed world is one of the biggest barriers to any real and lasting sustainable change. There is hope. But for that hope to be realised, those of us who are protected from the worst elements of our changing climate have to realise that we are all in this together and that we each have a responsibility to play our role in doing the right thing for people and planet.