Did my blog last week receive more hits than usual because it featured people rather than ideas? I have a postal address for David Attenborough, but would approaching Greta make more sense?
I have joined in a Twitter feed which she initiated. I have tried to bring this weblog to the attention of many sympathetic celebrities, but presumably none of them noticed it among the millions of Tweets etc. etc. If anyone who thinks it would be useful to tell Greta about my blog can suggest how to do it I should be grateful.
Greta suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. She calls it a gift. So it is, but it is also a curse. If I was at school now, I believe I would be diagnosed as ‘suffering’ from Asperger’s syndrome.
At the age of 20 I bought a second hand motor bike which kept breaking down. I took it to a garage on Saturday afternoons where Geoffrey, who I had been at school with worked as a mechanic. He could see that I was struggling. He said:
“….ing Hell Clive, it’s obvious. You used to be in the top stream at school. You can’t be that thick”
Within minutes the job was done. But I then started talking about the to me riveting political news in the mid 1950s, events in Suez and Hungary for example. Geoffrey’s eyes glazed over. He was not the least bit interested, and saw no relevance to anything important to him.
Since then that has been a recurring sub-text. In 1972 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), published Limits to Growth, which was the first public warning that growth could not go on indefinitely. I was transfixed. But like Geoffrey, no one I spoke to had a mind which worked like mine.
So just as Greta Thunberg started her school strike entirely alone, I started door knocking Jehovah’s witness style with the message “The End of the World need not be at Hand”. Bearing in mind my experience with friends, I was pleasantly surprised to find that 10% would vote for a party which addressed the problem MIT had flagged up, provided it did not threaten their sitting MP (in a safe seat I could stand the ‘wasted vote’ argument on its head).
What became the Green Party was formed in response to Limits, but again, very quickly my strategy was deemed ‘unrealistic’ i.e. stupid or mad by almost everyone. The party was successful in building up support on local issues. But it quietly dropped inhibiting growth as its raison d’être.
Over the 46 years since the Green Party was formed, I have never been taken seriously by the leadership, or whoever was responsible for publicity. They have not been without some sort of vision, albeit still stuck on the left of the left/right tramlines. But how do I differentiate my conviction that I have something important to say from a psychotic delusion – a belief that looks mad to normal people? Geoffrey’s indifference to my political views did not prevent him from mending my bike. But now the block on my input is crucial, at least in my mind.
One aspect currently distressing me is that we can only save the ecosphere by downsizing, and we cannot do that without something to make downsizing thinkable by whole populations, I have a delusion that the basic income would do this, but answers are irrelevant until the need is accepted – by normal minds.
I have no reason to suppose Attenborough would take me any more seriously than successive Green Party leaders.. But why should his warnings produce any more effect on the forces driving climate breakdown than all the others over the past 17 years?
Greta Thunberg is not as yet saying anything significantly different from Attenborough, just more stridently. But she is young enough to take on new ideas. Might her ‘gift’ enable her to share my unrealistic fulfilment of the biblical prophesy – the lion lying down with the lamb?