I voted for the Green Party candidate, Lorna Bogue, today. Lorna is 24, she’s from Limerick originally and graduated from UL a couple of years ago with a degree in music and dance (I know – a perfect education to enter the tippy-tappy world of Irish politics).

She is an advocate for environmental issues, climate change reversal in particular, as well as a fairer economy, an end to Direct Provision, repeal of the 8th amendment etc.

So. So Lorna hasn’t a hope in hell of being elected (she doesn’t even feature in the latest poll for South Central that I saw last week) – she’ll probably get 3% – 4% of the votes and come 8th or 9th in the constituency. But I wanted to vote firstly for the candidate that best reflects my own beliefs and concerns. And I hope that every first preference she gets will encourage her in her political beliefs and that she will stay in politics and stay green for a long long time. She may be Taoiseach some day – why not?

My following votes were to try to prevent a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil minority government which will increase the levels of inequity in our society – it’s their main political vision.

Here’s a free lecture on climate change. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.

Climate Change is not the main issue facing us all right now – in some ways it’s the only issue. I first realised the devastating effect of our level of resource consumption some years ago when I came across the concept of intergenerational equity/ intergenerational justice.

This is the idea that every generation should have the same opportunities and standards of living. And to do that they will need two things: a stable/moderate climate and adequate resources. And we are now depriving future generations of both.

We are consuming fossil fuels, precious minerals and other resources at a rate that is not sustainable over long periods – these are running out. We are also causing huge damage to large land masses, in order to increase production of palm oil, meat and other commodities – mainly for the developed world. We have also raped the sea with over consumption of its fish. Future generations will have to manage with less – especially in view of our economic model which dictates that we have to have continuous economic growth, combined with finite resources, for a hugely growing population. This is not possible and what we’re doing is therefore very selfish and unfair.

And secondly, we have messed up the climate, and that’s already a done deal. Now the Paris Agreement last December has set up a plan to limit climate change to 1°C or 1.5°C. And maybe keep sea level rises to 1 meter or so. But I don’t believe there is a serious enough commitment to implementing that plan – certainly our current Taoiseach treated it with derision. So I don’t think those targets will be met. And if we go to, say, 4°C increase, future generations are, I think the technical term is, fucked.

So if the German population knew what was coming down the tracks in 1933, do you think they would have elected the Nazis? I don’t think so. But we do know what is coming down the tracks and we still don’t adjust our behaviour. And the damage that climate change will cause is far far worse than WWII. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of people displaced, who will end up as refugees (Bangladesh alone will account for tens of millions); we’re talking about conflicts all over the planet; and we’re talking about droughts, food insecurity and mass famine and starvation – and that’s happening already in East Africa. Ever hear of Dadaab in Kenya? It’s the largest refugee camp complext in the world, with a population of 329,000 people.

Now this won’t affect this generation too much in Ireland apart from increased flooding and weather events. Cork will be badly hit and the Shannon region. But the next generation and the one after that will begin to feel the effects in a really serious way and they won’t thank us for what we did. And what happens here too is that the poorest of the poor in developing countries will bear the brunt of the impacts, which are caused by us, the richest of the rich. Nothing new there.

The earth does not belong to us, we are merely temporary custodians – and we’re not very good at it.

So, anyway, I don’t have kids myself but I have nephews and nieces and grand-nephews and grand-nieces and I care about them and climate change will damage their lives in real and meaningful ways and so I voted green.

And I look forward to the resurrection of that famous expression back in the day: “In the National Interest”. This will be used by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to justify their impending union – the one that they have been busily denying over the past few weeks.

And we get the government we deserve.

 

Image: www.justforests.org

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