18 September 2019

In a powerful, must-read essay for Meanjin, James Bradley balances Gramscian “pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will” in confronting the climate crisis: “We must, [Gramsci] said, be ruthless in our intolerance of wishful thinking, yet we must never lose sight of the potential for change and human possibility. Perhaps we should begin with a similar abandonment of illusion and fantasies of control. Addicts sometimes talk about needing to hit rock bottom before you can really face up to what you are. … Rock bottom is the end of excuses. The final stripping away of illusion, the acceptance of reality. … Transforming our economies and ourselves so fundamentally might seem impossible, especially in such a terrifyingly short space of time. … Yet none of this will happen until we find the courage to let go of evasions and half-truths, and begin to speak openly and honestly about where we are and what lies ahead. This will not be easy. … Will it be enough? I don’t know. What I do know is that doing something — doing anything — is better than doing nothing. That action is the best antidote to despair. And that in the end we have no choice but to try.”