Paul Mason, author of Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed, is the keynote speaker at World Development Movement Activist Gathering and 40th anniversary party on Saturday 19 June 2010 at St Mary’s Conference Centre, Sheffield.
For more information and to book your free place, visit WDM’s website here.
Read Paul’s blog post on Idle Scrawl following the rumblings from Eyjafjallajökull:
I live on the Heathrow eastern approach path and have now woken up two days running to a total sky silence. Soon the smoothie-makers and power-drills will get going, but – as with the fuel protests – we’re having another inadvertent glimpse of what a post-carbon future might look like, or in this case sound like.
Tens of thousands are stranded. At the whim of nature this could turn into a serious economic event, with airlines already projected to lose tens of millions of pounds, air freight disrupted and global mobility impaired. British shoppers may soon get to find out what non-Keynan green beans taste like; in fact we may be forced back to seasonal veg. The supermarkets may even be forced to find some British lamb to put on the shelves.
A couple of days ago I tweeted this thought in jest but it is worth thinking about: the original Krakatoa eruption of 1883 killed tens of thousands in the blast and tens of thousands more with the tsunami. Then its dust cloud spread into the global atmosphere: it lowered the temperature of the earth by more than 1 degree, turning the sky red, making Edvard Munch paint The Scream. Crops were disrupted. But air traffic was OK because, er, there wasn’t any. Has anybody modelled what a Krakatoa-scale eruption would do to modern air transport?
Big events trip us, psychologically, into awareness. The fuel protests unleashed a complex re-appraisal of our love affair with the car. Katrina made us understand how rapidly modern society disintegrates. This ash cloud is, already, making us appreciate how reliant we are on air freight and air travel.