Discovered At Last and Saving The World

6th February 2022 |

Discovered At Last

Last September (I think it was) a friend of mine, Yvon, came to visit from the town of Orange – a lovely old town in the Rhone valley, with the smallest Opera house I’ve ever seen. He is the owner of the Touratech shop in Orange and back in 2017, when we first met, things were going great. Bikers were in and out all the time, most of them I guess with their BMWs, buying expensive gear, but also the French edition of Jupiter’s Travels.

Then Touratech almost collapsed, putting a big kink in his business. And then along came Covid, and pretty soon after that a very angry domestic crisis (how often those dismal things combine) but somehow he stays cheerful and energetic. On this last visit he brought with him a French motorcycle journalist called Pascal who, it turns out, had never heard of me. As though he’d struck gold he kept me talking for hours, and then we did some pictures. Although his magazine “BOXER” is mostly BMW, it just came out with six pages about yours truly, all in French of course. Marvellous publicity, you might think, but I have nothing to sell. There is not a single copy of Jupiter’s Travels in French to buy anywhere. All the same I thought you might like to see what they did:







Saving The World

My rallying cry to save the world last week did not fall on deaf ears. WE are now at least a dozen. Of course my Eureka moment did not come to me with quite the scientific assurance of E=MC², nor with the authority of a papal edict. I went to sleep with my tongue in my cheek. (Which is actually a bit uncomfortable.Try it some time.)

However, now that my tongue is back where it belongs, I find that I am being cheered on by a small multitude (including, I may say, a servant of the people) and I begin to wonder whether there isn’t, maybe, something in it after all – that it isn’t just a good joke.

What I think makes most of us feel powerless in the face of climate change is the unpalatable truth that no one of us, alone, can do anything to make a difference.

Of course there has always been a lot of lofty talk, to which I myself subscribe, that it’s important to do the right thing, even if you’re on your own doing it – like removing plastic waste from a stream. I have even delivered speeches on the subject. But that has generally to do with matters of aesthetics or morals or sheer humanity.

What we are facing now is something cataclysmic, overwhelming, all-consuming. It’s the end game of human history. Against this threat the individual – well this individual at any rate – feels powerless.

The only way I can imagine that one person – or a small number of people – could ward off climate disaster would be through a scientific discovery so extraordinary, so inconceivable that it would defy the sun, gobble up two centuries worth of CO2, and allow us to continue in our dirty ways. I wouldn’t bet on it.

On the other hand, just suppose you could get ten million people to agree that on a certain day they would take a certain action, that could change the course of history. They would not have to agree on anything else. They would not have to be believers, or disbelievers, conservatives or radicals, rich or poor, black or white. All they need have in common is the agreement that on a certain day they would all do something to make a difference. And they would stick WE in their windows.

Just imagine, and it’s only an idea, that ten million WE people in the UK agreed that on March first, at ten o’clock they would stop whatever they were doing and walk out on to the streets and shut traffic down all across the country, until the government did . . . .What?

So, the two big imponderables:

First, how do you get from ten people to ten million? Easy! For once Facebook et alia can make it happen. The miracle of exponential growth. It’s not like the Arab Spring. Nobody’s being asked to lay down their lives. It’s just a walk in the park to force the government’s hand.

Second: What is the WHAT? That’s the difficult one. Someone has to decide and stick to it. If it were me I’d assemble a small council of advisers, environmentalists obviously, and choose one objective with enough sex appeal.

Shut down coal-powered plants?

Ban some particularly damaging ocean practice?

You name it.

So there you are – my plan to save the world.

I’m going to bed now.

PS: If it were America, of course we would need fifty million, and I’d have them all surround Joe Manchin’s house.