Last night I went to the Somerville Public Library to hear Boston College professor Charlie Derber, author of From Greed to Green: Solving Climate Change and Remaking the Economy, talk. The place was packed.
Among the many thoughtful, thought-provoking the slight, soft-spoken prof had to say was about time (maybe that should be capitalized?) and how we’re running out of Time and need to “trick it” by addressing the most immediate, compelling problems NOW.
Walking home under a two-thirds moon, waiting to cross the street and pondering his talk, an SUV gunned through a red light. Just as I was about to step off the curb.
“So what?” you say? Massachusetts drivers do that. True. I didn’t get hit obviously. So what’s the big deal?
Maybe I’m just getting old and crotchety. But I think this kind of blatant disregard for civility is getting worse. (Steven Slater’s recent lionization reinforces my point.)
Here’s what I’m wondering just might be blowin’ in the wind: As this recession continues (Derber believes it’s really more like 25% unemployment), this hottest summer in history continues, and drought and Russian fires and Pakistani floods impact millions of people and scare the bejesus out of the rest of us, I think the day-to-day interactions between us are getting worse. People are highly stressed, pissed, confused. So why NOT drive through red lights, push and shove, be rude and greedy?
Seems to me that one of those immediate crises Derber suggested we need to address is exactly this. (And I’ve harped on this before.) On some level, people know what’s happening. That we’re not acknowledging that This Climate Change Thing is another Great Depression, another Pearl Harbor and, c’mon everybody, let’s roll up our sleeves and deal just makes them MORE pissed.
Who can blame them.