Eyes wide shut

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 June, 2016, 5:26am

I hope, as you read this, Megi has passed and left you and yours unscathed. Depending on how close the super typhoon came - this column went to print on Thursday - you may have had to take precautions. Perhaps you put up storm shutters, cleared your garden or rooftop of loose objects or bought extra supplies in. Perhaps all you needed to do was wear clothing appropriate for gusty weather.

The point is, as a typhoon bears down, we prepare for its impact. We react to a tangible threat.

There is a far greater danger facing us, though - and few of us give a damn. Why else did nothing happen at climate talks in Copenhagen last year and in Tianjin this month? Why else will the Cancun, Mexico, meeting next month be a further waste of hot air?

Last week, the UN Convention on Biodiversity said simply, 'we are destroying life on Earth'. But like many other such warnings, it has fallen on deaf ears.

Us coddled people of the developed world will only take action to benefit our planet when the effects of its destruction become tangible; when our water and fuel/transport bills rise to reflect the true value of those resources; when we pay more for goods made by manufacturers who are charged the full cost of their polluting ways; when wealthy nations agree to properly help poorer ones already being buffeted by the gathering storm.

Self-serving, short-termist governments are reluctant to make their electorates pay, but how else are we to be persuaded - before it is too late - to defend ourselves against the winds of (climate) change?