What if this was a war?

Actually, I shouldn’t be writing blog posts at all right now. I rather should be sitting in our garden, enjoying a glass of juice, or at least bringing the garden back into shape, which we have let overgrown for far too many years. But gardening is torture in this scorching heat, the dripping sweat is the only liquid that our burned lawn is currently getting. The announced continuous rain was first postponed every hour, then daily, meanwhile the forecast has been showing at best a few clouds for weeks, which promise a little shade and thus a slight cooling every now and then. Even those small pools in the nearby forest, which I walked past every day for years with our dog, a reliable source of joy, by the way, because they are always fed by groundwater and, depending on the season, also home to a wide variety of creatures, have dried up too long ago. I never thought I’d once mourn tadpoles that weren’t even conceived in the first place. At least our new vegetable cultivation is flourishing. Tomatoes, herbs and rocket really proliferate, and every day I am grateful that, despite the lack of rain, we still have enough water for watering, showering and drinking.

But even on vacation you can’t escape the news. I got worried SMS or even entire daily newspapers from home, where the opposite of drought is prevailing: a terrifying excess of water. The floodgates above and below open, have been opening simultaneously, what began as harmless rain, turned within a blink of an eye into a deadly monster, raging and dragging with it things you would never have imagined they could be carried away.

The extent of the destruction, the half houses, the unusable bridges, the vehicles lying all over the place, the holes in the roadways, all of this reminds me of old war images, especially when pioneer tanks are now pushing rubble and debris aside, when old people being flown by camouflaged green helicopters from the nursing home to the loading area of military trucks in order to cart them away from the front to a safer place. It really looks like after a devastating battle – fought largely at the expense of civilization.

War.

What if – let’s just assume – if the same destruction had been the result of an equally unexpected military strike from some unscrupulous country? Let us assume that the destruction was just as great, that there were as many injured as there were dead. Except that the houses were hit by bombs and the dams were destroyed by missiles. What then?

I think I can well imagine what would have happened. After the initial shock, the great saber rattle would probably have started. “Something like that shouldn’t be allowed, we won’t accept that!” They would consult with military allies about what to do. The word “retaliation” would probably be avoided using gentler synonyms. The ailing Bundeswehr would quickly have been revamped with the latest equipment. A lot of money would be made available, probably significantly more than in the corona crisis, the few bucks to Lufthansa, on the other hand, appeared to be a measly joke. After all, that would create a lot of jobs, wouldn’t it, boost the economy after so much crisis, and that would be good for prosperity and therefore good for all of us. In the Bundestag it would probably be easier than ever before to get majorities for huge amounts. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people lined up and volunteered to be recruited. It has always been easier to mobilize people to fight a mean, deadly, and most of all: specific enemy.

Instead, we are only dealing with the climate crisis. China or North Korea, that’s already abstract enough because it is so completely different and so terribly far away, but at least you can narrow down other countries on the map and make them more accessible. But the “climate crisis” ?! This abstract something? A theory? I fear that more than 99% of all people have no idea what kind of a highly explosive and completely unpredictable poison they are putting in their mouth when they utter this word. This enemy is less tangible than a 1000 page mathematical formula.

Accordingly, nobody takes the enemy seriously. Sure, the EU has only just adopted a few measures for 2035. They made a green “deal” with the planet. But instead of voluntariness, recruitment and a spirit of optimism, it feels more like a slightly annoyed reluctance. Instead of pointing out all the new jobs, opportunities or the expected economic upswing with its completely new industries, professions and branches which the armament against climate change will inevitably bring to bloom, one prefers to complain about the loss of jobs in coal mining, combustion engine piston production or injection pump industry. “Oh dear! Now even Thyssen-Krupp (which, by the way, is solely responsible for over 2.5% of all German CO2 emissions and who very gladly would have much, much more preferred to accept armaments orders) is also being forced to switch from coal to green hydrogen – dear , Lord, Lord, how is all of this supposed to work?” groans the wailing choir while outside the door Thyssen-Krupp’s pioneering tanks are pushing the debris aside and heaving away wrecked cars. That irony strikes me as pretty macabre. Or maybe just as pretty stupid?

Or is it because we are deeply aware that climate change is no more our enemy than a war missile can be a personal enemy? Sure, it can be constructed, owned and fired by the enemy, but the bomb itself doesn’t care who fires it or where, it just follows the laws of nature. Just like climate change. It also only follows the laws of physics, and it doesn’t even construct itself either. That is why the one who creates climate change and who would fire it against us would be my real enemy: that would probably be nobody else than Old Adam himself. And maybe we feel deep down in our soul that we – hand on heart! – actually had to arm ourselves for the fight against ourselves, that is, we had to declare war on our greed, excess and gluttony, our consumption, our irresponsibility and above all our goddamned convenience, laziness and indifference. Here would be the real front for winning the battle against climate change as our self-constructed weapon. But fighting against such an overpowering opponent like your weaker self requires (military) discipline, vision, commitment, cunning, courage, action, renunciation, training, perseverance, resilience, coordination and subordination. And because only a few western wimps are sufficiently hardcore for hard inconveniences we continue to subconsciously choose the mattress-soft alternatives. Mainstream instead of narrow gates. After all, even we Christians want to be cool at last and not be spoilers of all fun again.

Probably future generations will shake their heads speechlessly at us and wonder how we could actually manage to see with our eyes that natural forces and catastrophes painfully tear away 80% of our wealth, sink it into the sea or devastate it in droughts, where all that could have been avoided so easily! With a voluntary renunciation of only 30% of our prosperity, global humanity would have been able to live much longer, much more sustainably, much more controlled and above all with much less suffering, injuries and death.

Unfortunately, the chances are negligible that the archaeologists of future generations will dig up this blog post somewhere, but I still wished my great-great-grandchildren to know that certain people have asked themselves such questions even today and even earlier, long before the catastrophe hit us. But I can only do what I can and would like my Creator to acknowledge my loyalty. Anyway. For today I’ve shaken my head enough for today. For the sake of my own psychological well-being, I will turn off my computer again, refill my juice glass, sit back in the shade and prefer to watch the bees on my vacation.

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