by A.M. Bell, New Zealand
At first we raised the issue, but the people in power were dismissive: "Trouble-making hippies, never done a decent day's work in their life." So they kept digging coal out of the ground to fire their power stations and drive their economic growth and they sat on their hands. With Australia shovelling coal into China's and India's economic engines as fast as you could say: "Show me the money!" the clouds kept belching out of the developing world's smokestacks, but they said: "Well, you've had it good all these years, now it is our turn!" and they sat on their hands. Hippies and greenies we were labelled with barely disguised contempt for trying to stop "growth". Growth was their god and they worshipped it at every opportunity. They did not look to Nature and the cycle of the seasons. They did not see that growth goes hand in hand with decay, that it is a surging and a falling away like the tides, like the moon, like the harvest. "Growth at all costs," they cried and they sat on their hands. And then the hurricanes grew more intense and they went further north to wreak havoc on the financial powerhouse of New York, and the cyclones drove out of the tropical Pacific and reached further into the southern ocean and the flooding grew more frequent and heavier than in times past and the big insurance giants began to shuffle uncomfortably while they still sat on their hands. And then the moguls and the newspapers began to grow a little wary that the damn climate wasn't behaving itself and costing them production and their wallets were responding though they had not been and they said to the scientists: "We still don't believe you that we are affecting the climate, but just in case you are right, can you keep the rise within 2 degrees Celsius and buy us a little time?" and then they went back to sitting on their hands. And the scientists organised conferences and talked a great deal about the problem and the media wrote articles about it and had television debates, but no one in power wanted to get off their hands and so, as the years went by, they still sat steadfastly and resolutely on their hands.