Environmentalism is like a bad school play.
- Lots of badly prepared and over excited people stand in front of a bemused, but sympathetic audience desperately trying to deliver a coherent story.
- Actors desperately hope that singing and dancing mixed with comradeship, perseverance and loud voices will get them through.
- The kind audiences keep up the illusion that the performers are being taken seriously and offer polite applause in the right places.
- The odd talent stands out, but her role is perhaps not central enough for her talents to be distinguishable from the collective she is marooned within. Besides, her family and teachers probably urge her to stop 'dreaming' and to prepare herself to face the realities of the unchanging real world.
Applause for the nobility of trying has a sadness that is absent from the applause that marks success, excellence or triumph. It feels shallow to do it and feels hollow to receive it, but everyone (sort of) smiles. When this current tidal wave of environmentalism ebbs away, taking with it its posse of disillusioned protagonists, it will have made a lot of noise but will probably have achieved very little. Shouting and screaming about environmental problems can only get us so far, not very far. I fear we will need an Encore; another powerful, more imaginative, wave of environmentalism, one that isn't scared to think about, challenge and change the systems that have created our current predicament. Given the situation we find ourselves in the Encore had better be short but magnificent. We’ll need creative people to design and deliver it; we will need adults who have not had their creativity battered out of them by their schools and families.
This is a long winded way of saying watch this Sir Ken Robinson TED lecture.