Saturday, 9 May 2009

Wobbly Tables, Big Ideas

Gave a talk in the Cotswolds last night, I love eccentric English events.  No one had a key to get into the village hall so we all sat outside while the vicar, Methodist minister and Catholic priest made panicked calls on mobile phones, so when we did get in no chairs out, screen had to be balanced on wobbly table, no cups of tea ready etc.  All very good notes for a novel if I was a writer, and I'm always delighted at how lovely people are in mini crises.  But what I have noticed recently is that ideas which seem so second nature and obvious are new and revelatory to others who are not versed in ecology and environmental issues.  Two people recently have said how they had never thought about how interconnected we are with all of life and not just observers on the outside.  Others wonder if nuclear testing underground is shifting the earth on its axis and causing climate change.  One lady asked me once if we are leaving huge holes that collapse under the sea when we extract oil - did that cause the Tsunami?  Many others have asked why it matters if animals go extinct because we have survived very well without the dodo.  And from a faith point of view a clergyman wondered how a right relationship with the natural world could be "sold" from the pulpit, it seemed such a strange idea.  There is so much information out there about everything now, people can look up, find out about, immerse themselves in any subject but it is so hard to make sense of it all.  I feel overwhelmed by the amount of politics, history, literature, the arts, I feel I should know,  but very few can be polymaths, not me for sure.  It is easy to be confused.  But many people are talking about these issues now and that is great.

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