Scattered thoughts, the environment and elections

This post is likely to be as bitty and through-other as my brain currently feels. It is reasonably late on and Election Friday night and I seem to be having as much trouble catching a solid thought as I frequently have catching those annoying midges that whine uncomfortably in my face almost as soon as I turn out my bedside light. I reckon I should write anyway though, because I am developing that alarming habit of assuming there is nothing to say.

I’ve always been reluctant to get too vocal about any kinds of issues on Twitter, I’ve tended to keep it for hobby and academic interest only. This year I’ve noticed a serious uptick in my environmental issues retweeting, and I found myself deciding to run with a “Want Green, Vote Green, but also Encourage other people to consider Voting Green” stance. Instead of wandering around noncommittally in work conversations I’ve been suggesting that, no matter what anyone’s politics actually usually are, this was now the time to send a very clear and serious signal to government types.

Whether or not you agree with, for example, The Green Party, on its complete set of policies is right now kind of immaterial. They are the best champions of a more ecologically aware nation in the small numbers they might, even in the best case scenario, aspire to. Our government is not, in my opinion, paying sufficient attention. It has been condescending to the School Strikers, it has declared a climate emergency only to follow it up with the actual Taoiseach sniffily declare it to be more of a symbolic gesture, and altogether Fine Gael (in particular) has a dreadful record with climate change policy with the underlying idea that it “isn’t really a priority in Ireland”. It is a time to ensure that ordinary people are finally acknowledged as concerned about their environment and the world around them, that we want the government to lead by example by including green initiatives in Public Spending projects, by coming up with ways to make it easier for all of us to make responsible choices instead of deciding all we need is a couple of brightly coloured posters with educational information on what constitutes a *tiny, tiny* part of the overall problem our country has. I’m about as ordinary as they get, I understand how important it is for householders to recycle and make clever energy choices and so on, but this is way bigger than just us and our plastic straws and reusable cups. Our entire way our country runs, attracts businesses, creates new infrastructure, plans public transport and all the rest of it has to change, dramatically and very, very soon.

So yes, it was election day today and it was the most engaged in an electoral process I think I have ever been and I am usually reasonably involved to start with. I think, however, that I am far better aware how Europe works now, having learned about strategic voting to ensure the loudest green voice in the right sort of blocs that I could hope for in Europe. (for example, I found the Defenders, Delayers and Dinsoaurs ranking of parties on Climate Change extremely interesting ) As I scrabble at my keyboard and my brain makes “waahh, sleep now” noises I see Twitter is afire with exit polls suggesting the Green Party has done very well indeed, and this makes me happy. I’ve also seen a photo of the daughter of a good friend doing her bit at the School Strike and being generally awesome, and I find, for this evening at least, I am feeling a little more optimistic than I have been lately.

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