OPINION: It's Time We Woke Up

Yeah, we fucked up. Our planet’s trashed. 

It’s 4am. We’re all in denial stumbling around in the dark. The drinks have worn off but we’re pretending they haven’t so that we don’t have to face reality yet. 

I was at the climate strike last weekend and it all came crashing down around me.

The party’s over, my fellow drunken revellers, and we’ve been the rude guests. We sloshed tequila on the salmon’s living room carpet, we vomited in the starfish’s kitchen sink. We’ve gotten too cocky. We thought we could handle our liquor but we ended up passed out on the couch with penises drawn all over our faces. 

On behalf of homo sapiens: I apologize to the whales, the yellowfin tuna, the dolphins and the sharks. This is your home too. 

We tell ourselves we’re ‘making a difference’. What the fuck does that mean? Who am I to know what’s best for the climate and for the community. I show up for huis, write grant applications for “zero carbon spaces”. I chant the chants and wave the signs. But I also fly on a plane from Dunedin to Auckland and I fell off the vegan train. 

On Saturday, we watch our friends litter Castle Street with cans and bottles, and then on Monday we rock up to our environmental management stream. 

Party’s over, my dear pals. Let’s hop off the couch, have one last vom in the corner, and put our grown-up costumes on. Time to see ourselves as part of this world and hold ourselves accountable. Time to learn how to say ‘no’ and align our actions with values. The narrative of rich, old, 1-percenters being responsible for our reality is as dead as Huia. 

If the global 10%, the most privileged people on the planet are responsible for most of the destruction, then as students we’re part of that. If not in our privilege at the moment, then the actions we mimic, and the goals we aspire to.  

Time to question the only thing that can make a difference:  your place in this world. 

This article first appeared in Issue 7, 2021.
Posted 4:44pm Monday 19th April 2021 by Kate Pitches.