THE Greek word ‘idiotis’, from which we get the English word ‘idiot’, means ‘private individual’, and by extension refers to someone whose activities and concerns are limited to his own personal interests.
Nowadays we might refer to such a person as a ‘nimby’, a climate change denier or a wind turbine opponent, among other things. This sort of person ignores the bigger, more important picture because his self-preoccupation blinds him to it. Which is not to say he is stupid; he may actually be very clever - in a limited kind of way.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has in the last week issued a report which confirms the case already made by NASA, the IPCC, the Met Office and other agencies on anthropogenic global warming. This is quite an extraordinary volte-face, because the IEA has always been regarded as the mouthpiece of the oil industry! The report states that concerted international action must be taken immediately to cut CO2 emissions in order to avoid global average temperatures exceeding two degrees of warming. Above this threshold positive feedback loops will occur, leading to faster warming resulting in extreme weather events, sea level rise, loss of biodiversity, desertification and mass migration. Will governments and businesses now take heed and act to avoid one of the greatest catastrophes ever to face mankind?
Sadly, I doubt it. There are too many ‘private individuals’ among them preferring to act narrowly in their own perceived interests, ignoring the wider issues which should concern them so much more.
It’s their future too of course, but they don’t seem able to see that.