Is it just me, or do you too think humans suffer more and more from Goldfish Memory Syndrome?
On Monday 9th August 2021, the latest IPCC report was published. The title of the press release on the UN’s website sums it up quite neatly: Secretary-General Calls Latest IPCC Climate Report ‘Code Red for Humanity’, Stressing ‘Irrefutable’ Evidence of Human Influence. A few other soundbites are “alarm bells are deafening” and “billions of people at immediate risk” and also “affecting every region on Earth”, with a clear conclusion: “We must act decisively now”.
That was Monday. I watched the BBC news on Tuesday, the very next day (I think it was the lunchtime edition, but it might have been the 6 o’clock one). Guess how many times the Climate Report was mentioned… Yup! Zero times! I’d set my stopwatch to time the different topics on the news, hoping that the IPCC report would at least cover a good portion of that day’s edition, and this is the result (all times approximate), in order of appearance:
- Exam results (10 minutes)
- Prince Andrew (4 minutes)
- NHS waiting lists (3 minutes)
- Latest Covid news (1 minute)
- The role of AI in dementia treatment (3 minutes)
- A short piece about the terrorist who was shot by police (2 minutes)
- Princess Latifa (1 minute)
- Labour winning back elections (5 minutes)
- Messi going to PSG (2 minutes)
- The weather forecast (1 minute)
Over the next few days, we saw dramatic pictures of wildfires, but the climate report was hardly ever mentioned. Now, it’s Thursday. Since Monday, we’ve seen several interviews with Olympians at every edition of BBC Breakfast, but climate scientists? Nope… Plenty of controversy about the better-than-usual exam results all over the country, but is it really relevant when the planet is dying because of us? Isn’t it rather counter-productive? Our sole purpose of “educating” our children is still to equip them for a bright career, making loads of money to spend on all kinds of “stuff” that needs producing, thus making the planet uninhabitable even faster.
So, after just one day, the news was old, the sense of urgency had faded, even gone, and we were back to our old habits. Sad, really.