Margaret Atwood: How Hot Do You Want It to Get?

Feb 17, 2020 | Climate | 0 comments

Image of breakwater at manning point , nsw

‘It’s not climate change. It’s everything change.’

For a year now I’ve made the climate crisis an increasingly important focus.

Of course, like many of you, I’ve gone about my usual activities: teaching, socialising, volunteering and learning.

Even so, the changing climate has come crashing into my life like a cannon careening down a steep hill.

Here in Australia, impossible to ignore, there has been the continuing cruelty of a nationwide drought. And the resultant drying up of rivers and loss of biodiversity.

Then along came the winter bushfires. Winter! Not the ‘normal’ season for fires to occur. Even less ‘normal’ for the rain forests to burn.

And now, there are massive rainfalls, flooding, storms and perilous tidal surges.

What’s to become of us?

I keep returning to this question. so I knew when I heard that Margaret Atwood, an environmental warrior, was coming to Sydney, I had to hear what she would say. 

This brilliant writer, poet and activist appeared ‘In Conversation’ at the Darling Harbour Theatre yesterday evening.

Her interviewer posed wide-ranging questions, some them relating to her dystopian novels, Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments.

When Atwood walked out onto the stage, carrying her handbag, she looked much like anyone’s 81 year-old grandmother or, more likely, great-grandmother.

But when she spoke it was from a truly deep understanding of global issues. Wisdom, perspective, sharp insights, tempered with affectionate humour punctuated her comments.

The title of this post is her bulls-eye question, one that could be addressed to any of our ineffective politicians.

Another quote from the interview relates to the idea proposed by these same politicians: All we need do is learn to adapt to climate change. Atwood drew our attention to the acidification of the oceans.

You can adapt to a certain extent but when the oceans die and oxygen is no longer produced, can you adapt to not breathing?

And regarding the question of whom we should be voting for:

Choose someone who accepts the climate science, that it is anthropogenic, that there is a climate emergency and most importantly someone who has a plan. It may not be a perfect plan but at least it’s a starting point.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I left the theatre. I felt hopeful and grateful that there a Margaret and a Greta in the world. And that we can empower each other.

Oh, I forgot to mention that probably 95% of the 2000 person audience were women. What does that mean?


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