It’s February and it’s quite cold in Scotland and that’s the news, followed by ‘the weather’.
Something has shifted in the last few years so that we’ve allowed ‘the weather’ to become a phenomenon in and of itself.
It might be shift in the media, or us becoming more and more stupid, or it could be a sign that we are becoming increasingly distant from and alienated from the natural world. Seasons are marked purely as opportunities for commercial activity, the very language for nature is being lost, and we are so divorced from where our food comes from we act as if the lack of chicken at KFC is some sort of national crisis.
But there’s something else going on.
There is a direct correlation between our response to weather and our non-response to climate change, despite the fact that increase in instances of extreme weather is caused by our climate crisis.
So for weather we: disproportionately panic, create precise and alarmist public communications systems (‘Amber’, ‘Yellow’ warnings), act as if this has never happened before, and hold Transport Ministers and other officials to account as if they are Weather Gods.
For climate change we ignore it, mock it, deny it and forget it.
Right now we are in the midst of an Arctic Meltdown that is baffling scientists.
It’s unprecedented. This is more than just a temperature anomaly, it is an off-the-scale event.
We should be terrified, we should be animated, we should be furious.
Plastic straws or something.
So instead we ingest TV news with huge pictures of ‘Snow’ and half terrified-hysterical / half jokey commentary on the weather like goldfish staring blinking at the screen.
‘Snow you say, in February?!’
Of course some (many) people are conscious.
See Tony White’s Shackleton’s Man Goes South the first (I think) account of the climate refugee crisis.
The end result is living in a world profoundly disconnected from itself, where the very idea of Winter terrifies us, and the idea of not being able to drive anywhere at any time we like is an affront tour human rights.
Some people call this Monachopsis.
n. the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you’d be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.
Out of place. Out of time.