Climate Change, It's A Worry Eh

Kayaker paddling right to left on a grey harbour in the mist

We all know the climate is changing even if there are differences of thoughts amongst us as to why (not the people that actually know, just the "us").

Change, it's a pain in the arse eh ... as a Change Manager (amongst other skills) I am aware of the platitudes that "change is hard", and, "no-one likes change" which are sort of true, and we can get settled in our lives be that work or actual. Famously we don't like our cheese being moved. However, some people, I am one of them, get quite bored and restless when there is no change, it can become a sign of staleness, of allowing the pond scum to grow across the surface, of decay and putrefaction ... ok, maybe just boredom.

Work change though happens either quickly (week, months, even a year or two) or glacially slow that it doesn't get noticed. The change of a new IT system is usually one that occurs, for the actual people (not the IT bods), quickly, akin to a plaster/Band-Aid being ripped off ... this can be useful but please remember to let the people know the 5W's, tell them to look away whilst it's happening, and follow-up with cuddles and a lollipop.

Quick changes, be they good (a new office with a great view, better carpets, smells of paint), or bad (redundancy, relationship end, "upgraded" IT system) are always best when it is communicated, actioned, and supported. We can deal with it, even if we think we can't, we will.

Slow change, change over time comes in two distinct flavours. Change that happens and everyone is ok with it is fine, life just gets better over time. I'm thinking new types of cars, better water pipes, upgraded roads, a new TV, the Internet, you know, the stuff you only truly notice when you stop to think about it and smile about "how it used to be". Phones, there's another one. It's also rare to actually be able to put your finger on exactly when it changed, it just happened with small steps to now, and likely to keep going on.

One thing about this slow type of change, it can speed up and become quick change, then we all move into "don't move our cheese", modern life is becoming like that, maybe, if you perceive it as such.

3 changes so far:
  1. Quick, good
  2. Quick, bad
  3. Slow, good
The final type of change is, of course, slow change that is bad. You can think of this as the infamous (and incorrect) story of the "frog in a slowly heating pan of water". This is our climate change. It's changing, we know it is, we don't really know hem it started changing, it's happening in small steps, absolutely gonna keep going, and it's bad.

Change causes stress, stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and physical ailments.

Stress can be good, especially if it's either a quick change and or a good change.

... muscle tension, digestive issues, headaches, weight gain or loss, trouble sleeping, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. It can also weaken your immune system, which can increase your risk of infections like the common cold or cold sores. Chronic stress can also affect your reproductive system and menstrual period, leading to irregular or painful periods. 
Mental health
Chronic stress can increase your risk of mental health problems like anxiety and depression, as well as substance use problems. It can also impair your memory, making you more forgetful and less likely to remember specific information.
Climate change (slow and bad) is, by definition, affecting the whole planet. If it's local and 'temporary' we call that weather and that changes quickly and can be both bad (hurricane, boo) or good (sunny, yay).

You feeling any of it? I do a little, not all the time, but when I sit and notice there's an underlying stress about "the world". I think a lot of us older peeps are similar, it's there but not in our minds all the time. [Side note: I think this is why the right-wing 'strong man' approach to politics is gaining traction, we all feel that something needs some serious sorting out and those that aren't truly powerful themselves are placing their stress eggs into certain baskets, it won't work.]

The young peeps in my life are more conscious of it. They talk about the world burning, they feel let down by us, they are angry and pissed off. Now, we can easily bat that away with, "Everyone feels like that when they're young, that's why we have rock 'n' roll." Maybe, but we never had the slow burn of change they are living with, the trauma that it is causing ... perhaps impending nuclear disaster but that would be a very quick and very bad change.

It's a worry eh.

I don't know, is it some solace to know we're not alone in worrying about it - We asked 380 top climate scientists what they felt about the future... ("They are terrified, but determined to keep fighting.")
“We keep doing it because we have to do it, so [the powerful] cannot say that they didn’t know. We know what we’re talking about. They can say they don’t care, but they can’t say they didn’t know.”
“Scientists are human: we are also people living on this Earth, who are also experiencing the impacts of climate change, who also have children, and who also have worries about the future,” said Schipper. “We did our science, we put this really good report together and – wow – it really didn’t make a difference on the policy. It’s very difficult to see that, every time.”
“It is the biggest threat humanity has faced, with the potential to wreck our social fabric and way of life. It has the potential to kill millions, if not billions, through starvation, war over resources, displacement,” said James Renwick, at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. “None of us will be unaffected by the devastation.”
“I am scared mightily – I don’t see how we are able to get out of this mess,” said Tim Benton, an expert on food security and food systems at the Chatham House thinktank. [..] Numerous experts were worried over food production: “We’ve barely started to see the impacts,” said one.
We humans are amazing at hope and life needs to live.
“The good news is the worst-case scenario is avoidable,” said Michael Meredith, at the British Antarctic Survey. “We still have it in our hands to build a future that is much more benign climatically than the one we are currently on track for.” But he also expects “our societies will be forced to change and the suffering and damage to lives and livelihoods will be severe”.

“I believe in social tipping points,” where small changes in society trigger large-scale climate action, said Elena López-Gunn [..]. “Unfortunately, I also believe in physical climate tipping points.”

We all think that the young 'uns will sort out this mess for us but we can focus on it ourselves as well!

“I really don’t know what needs to happen for the people that have all the power and all the money to make the change. But then I see the younger generations fighting and I get a bit of hope again.”


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