Mentioning that Macalla is a farm is important because, as Dr. Jason Bradford points out, the future will be rural. As carers of the land and local producers of organic food, we are part of a sustainable system that help cut carbon emissions and preserve biodiversity, and have been for many years. But this is no longer enough. It is clear that we are in a crisis situation and that we need to engage in action to end political inaction in the face of the present climate emergency. We all have to take responsibility for the future of our planet. For too long, we have delegated this responsibility to politicians, hoping that they would boldly regulate and legislate in order to stop climate chaos. These politicians have let us down repeatedly. They have known at least since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 that action is needed to curb greenhouse gas emission but the “actions” taken at political level have been woefully inadequate and emissions have continued to rise, leading to the current crisis. The most authoritative scientists now tell us that unless global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times, the world faces extreme weather events, food shortages, wildfires, dying coral reefs, droughts, floods, mass migration and poverty for hundreds of millions. This doesn’t sound like well-being and prosperity. Rather it sounds like misery for many millions of people. Yet, this is inevitable if we continue  to view economic growth as the guarantor of our future happiness. To avoid climate disaster, the world economy needs an immediate transformation of unprecedented speed and scale, involving far-reaching changes in society. These changes need to come from the top down (and this is why we need to put pressure on the political establishment to question their commitment to economic growth); but also from the bottom up, because what is required is a complete restructuring of economic power and privileges, a wholesale shift away from militarism, and millions of people going back to the land. Even though the Irish government declared a climate emergency,  proper ways to deal with this emergency aren’t politically acceptable at present because governments are committed to economic growth as the sole guarantor of well-being, development and prosperity. We therefore need to redefine what is acceptable in the light of what is necessary. People are right to be outraged that governments and businesses are putting economic growth and profits ahead of people and the planet and must push governments to face the responsibilities that come with the power they have. Politicians must realise that they are answerable, not to the lobbies, banks and other businesses who have been funding them for so long, but to the people who have elected them, and to the children of the world who are now demanding urgent action, (and whose lives depend on the decisions they are making now). But the change also has to come from the bottom up because power in a human society ultimately depends on a system of agreements and narratives within this society. It is our views, and not force, that empowers those in power, and ultimately scaffold the system. It is therefore by changing ours and others people views and narratives (in this case the views and narratives about economic growth and happiness) that we will ultimately change the systems. So we also need to sit back (maybe on a meditation cushion), reassess the agreements and narratives that we have for too long taken for granted, and ask ourselves, what do we really need to be happy?


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