Beam me up, I’m a tree-hugger …

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Like the young child too old to cling to belief in Santa Claus, it is time for us to learn the truth. The Star Trek universe and its inherent vision of hope for the future of humanity is a lie based on a misconception?

Trek and its ilk are sugar-coated visions of a future that we may never be mature enough as a race to realise. Whilst we may all be trampled by a rioting host of distraught Trekkies terrified at this news, at the loss of their ‘rock’, their spiritual foundation, we must all face the facts. It may be so.

“Rich countries are holding our world’s future to ransom by failing to acknowledge that they must cut their own emissions first and fastest if we’re to see any progress in the run-up to Copenhagen.

It always seemed to me that there was a fascinating and untold chapter in the Star Trek volumes. Oh, we had the Next Generation and Voyager. But there is human story that ought to have been told in great detail, but was perhaps too far-fetched for the viewing audience to swallow.

Star Trek, like its big-screen cousin, Star Wars, and countless science fiction epics, is based on two principal pillars. The invincibility of technological advances and the unification of mankind into an integrated political structure, working for the greater good.

That latter one, is the untold story. The hard to swallow plot line that could not be spun sufficiently to get the audience to buy it; there’s just not enough rope to ‘suspend’ that much belief.

Whatever helped humanity in that Trekkie universe to unite and eradicate global suffering, hunger, warring, terrorism and exploitation, nothing sort of a genetic lobotomy seems capable of achieving it in this reality.

We have all been given a ‘flash-forward’ glimpse of the unsustainability of capitalism’s all-consuming greed. The recent recession, which has been felt around the world shows just how quickly our illusion of wealth, power and solidity can crumble. Yet it is only a hint of the chaos that climate change can reek upon an unprepared world.

Continuing to consume carbon-based fossil fuels at the current rate will condemn our children and grand children to a world in turmoil. A world where even the boundaries of the oceans are a battlefield. A world torn by shifting political and cultural allegiances as nations squabble over dwindling resources in the face of frightening weather patterns.

We are already at the point where action is needed. The carbon in the atmosphere is already well past the scientifically safe minimum level of 350 parts per million.

Only concerted and internationally agreed action, diligently applied, offers any hope of preventing temperature increases that will be irreversible (in our human lifetimes). These changes are not gradual. They come when tipping points are reached and they come with the power of nature, unchained and unchecked.

As deforestation weakens the earth’s capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon, so the melting polar ice caps reduce it’s capacity to repel the heat of the sun. And the ice-melt feeds the ocean’s rise.

The biggest international division surrounds the funding of carbon emissions reductions, with the developing nations claiming that the developed nations have already used more than their ration of carbon emissions and must cut back harder and invest more. That claim is hard to deny and the developed nations will just have to accept that helping India and China (who along with the USA are the top-3 carbon emitting nations) to build more effective and efficient energy infrastructures is an essential investment in the prosperity of the human race.

However, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change intercessional meeting in Bangkok  (9 October 2009) seem to hint that progress is being made on what needs to constitute the “bricks and mortar” of the Copenhagen agreement.

This growing accord amongst is dogged by a continuing lack of clarity on the key deliverables to make a successful international climate change deal workable though, which essentially means agreeing who will fund it, how will it be funded and how will the funds be managed.

Needless to say the developed nations and the developing nations cannot necessarily agree on the finer points of those ‘key deliverables’.

At the conclusion of the talks, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer proclaimed:

“A will has emerged in Bangkok to build the architecture to rapidly implement climate action but significant differences remain. In December, citizens everywhere in the world will have a right to know exactly what their governments will do to prevent dangerous climate change.

“It is time now to step back from self interest and let the common interest prevail.”.

Friends of the Earth international climate campaigner, Tom Picken responded to this by saying:

“Rich countries are holding our world’s future to ransom by failing to acknowledge that they must cut their own emissions first and fastest if we’re to see any progress in the run-up to Copenhagen.

“The UK, along with other EU countries, has signalled they will abandon their legally binding commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and instead support weak US proposals based on voluntary pledges. This is totally unacceptable – rich countries must acknowledge they have a legal and moral responsibility to lead on tackling climate change.

“The (UK) Government must also drop its support for expanding carbon markets to include rainforests, a scheme which will do nothing to tackle climate change but will trigger a land grab leaving millions of people worse off.”

Agreement on these matters is a vital objective. It must be the outcome of the December talks in Copenhagen.

Only through co-operation and mutual assistance will we as a race survive this crisis. And maybe, just maybe … if we can pull it off … that global co-operation will form the basis of the as yet unwritten chapter. The lost story of Star Trek, which explains just how those human souls put self-serving national interests aside and matured into a nurturing, space-faring culture?

Think global, act local is a tired mantra already. Yet the destiny of mankind rests upon our ability to act upon those four words.

This article is written and published as part of Blog Action Day!

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