Archive for ethics

Green pie action

Posted in Environmentalism, Rock Climbing with tags , , , , on June 1, 2012 by Dr Dan Barrios-O'Neill

I love to play outside, it’s brilliant.

I’ve been climbing trees, and rocks, and falling into brambles, for as long as I can remember. These days I also spend a lot of my time trying to understand how ecosystems work. I’d like to think the two things are hand in glove. But really, if I’m out climbing, the experience is often so immersive that I struggle to take a step back and contemplate where I am. As climbers I think the things that tend to occupy our concerns are quite specific. Polished footholds, tickmarks, chipping, the occasional bit of litter. Pretentious melodrama in the grand scheme of things. Do we care about the environment much beyond what it can immediately give us?

It would be unfair to single out climbers, because everyone wants a bit of the green-pie action; surfers want clean water, walkers want paths, Al Gore wants more carbon sequestration.

The list goes on. Scientists even talk in terms of “ecosystem services”, which seems quite telling. But what I really wonder is, do we need that green-pie for its own sake, or do we simply need what it can give us? I’d always vaguely held the notion that it was a bit of both, but more of the latter. Then, the other night, I saw this film:

I think everyone who’s seen it agrees: it’s an outrageously grim affair, and the thing that really sets it apart from other post-apocalyptic tales is the total lack of any green-pie. It’s not your typical subversive environmental message; it’s a wrecking ball to the face. It could even be hard hitting enough to wipe this self-assured smile off our chancellor’s face:

If it’s good enough for George, then it’s good enough for you. So, if you haven’t already seen it you should, and afterwards go and hug a tree, or roll down a grassy bank.

Grass is awesome, isn’t it?