Read the Coffee Grounds

Mug, coffee plunger, steam and my morning ritual of The Signal on the ABC.  It’s called “Surviving a poor, dangerous, disorderly world”.  There’s an image of two military aircraft flying over a mountainous landscape.  I plug in my ear buds and press play.  The PM’s voice pipes through talking about future-proofing our safety in a changing world by beefing up our military power.  He sounds serious.   I listen to maybe 5 of the 15 minutes of podcast and switch it off.  Unlike last night, it’s not anger in my blood.  It’s grief.

What world have we brought our children into?

A world where you spend money on preparing for war, not on encouraging equity and good will.  Imagine if our PM thought to give $270 billion to poorer nations?  Or to poorer citizens?  What if our PM thought to invest in industries that would promote a greener, safer, more secure future instead of one filled with cyber-suspicion, military might and fear?    What if he worried about growing food instead of about defending borders?

China is way bigger than us.  Pretending we can go to war with them seems pretty unrealistic to me.  I don’t even know if it’s likely to happen.  But wouldn’t it be better to be friendly with them,  value them as trading partners,  value them as near neighbours, have good diplomatic relations?  Isn’t that a more hopeful future than an arms race that we’ve already lost?  Shouldn’t we be making allies who might ACTUALLY help us?  We have gone to war under British and American flags so many times.  But I have no faith that they will come to rescue their little antipodean ally,  their little Twitter follower.  And honestly, the way things are going, are either of them going to be the huge powerful allies we thought they were once?

The thing is, that Signal Episode title should be about Climate Change, not about military power.  This pandemic is a fly in the ointment.  Seriously, compared to Climate Change, COVID19 is just a sad dip in global well-being.  It’s not forever.  And it’s really only humans and certainly won’t be all humans.  Climate Change is everything we know.

It’s like saying:  “Oh no! The window is broken!  Fix the window! Get that person who broke the window!  Put up screens to prevent more broken windows!”   And yet, not far down the road, a huge bushfire is raging and likely to consume the whole damn home.

Our children deserve more hope.  We are f*ing them over.  And the rivers are running out of tears.

10 thoughts on “Read the Coffee Grounds

  1. As you mention, the virus may cause geo-political destabilisation, but it will pale in comparison to the dysfunction being wrought by climate change. Our climate policies have contributed to our own strategic weaknesses and we seem intent on doubling down on those weaknesses, as per some cringe worthy double think analogy. Climate change will not be checked without global cooperation. How to foul your own nest …

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  2. It makes me angry too that they can find the money for weapons but not for supporting the jobless, addressing climate change and giving kids a good education.
    As you say we would not have much of a chance if China decided to invade us although I think it is unllikely. Why should they do that when they can just buy us? I don’t agree with everything that the Chinese Government does but war hurts everyone. We turned to the USA when Britain couldn’t or wouldn’t help us in WWII. Now I believe that even if the USA could help us they probably wouldn’t, not under Trump. He is an isolationist, if it doesn’t beneft him he’s not interested. He’s more likely to provoke China militarily then we are .

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  3. Imagine all the billions that have been spent over the years in weapons that have never neem used. Nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, battleships and the like Imagene how many people could have been fed, healed or educated instead?
    But I do think that although climate change is existential, there are plenty of smaller fights to fight. We fought apartheid, for example, and Wikipedia told me only yesterday that the UAE still does not have universal suffrage. That’s a battle worth fighting, surely, as well as climate change?

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