It may be a stretch to think of it this way, but the climate is the consumer (customer) of the energy byproducts generated to support industry and progress, most of it polluting. As every business person knows, if you do not delight your customer they will go elsewhere and if you make your customer very unhappy, they may retaliate.
Unfortunately, whereas consumers of products can choose to buy another similar product, not buy anymore of the product in question and can also spread bad-word-of mouth, when the climate gets mad it gets destructive.
Despite mounting evidence and the appearance of the acceptance of this evidence, our climate customer has to resort to extreme weather, drought, famine, earthquake and disease before we stop arguing over the cost of changing our ways and simply, change. The climate doesn’t need as much overwhelming evidence to change – it is changing rapidly. The climate’s attention span does not wander during a lull in catastrophes; it just accelerates the changing process. Finally, the climate doesn’t need to sift through a mountain of arguments against making fast changes to the way we source our energy – again, it just keeps on changing.
It is clear at this point that our customer, the climate that supports life on earth, is pretty fed up with how we interact with it. We pump chemicals through the ground to reach supplies of natural gas, referring to it as relatively clean and ignoring the lack of standardization in the fraccing (fracking) process, as well as the lack of public disclosure about the chemicals used and finally, ignoring the byproduct, methane. We continue to suffer through expensive environmental disasters caused by off shore drilling as well as accidental, or not, dumping of garbage and polluting industrial byproducts into rivers and lakes and we are only briefly shamed by the suffering of indigenous species that rely on these waters for sustenance. We consider the empty counter arguments of those who profit from continuing to pollute. We fly all over the world to talk about saving the climate while the very trips we go on contribute to the ongoing problem. We waste time by arguing over the cost of changing, ignoring that the cost of cleaning up is significantly higher. We waste this time because it requires change that might require, temporarily, an uncomfortable shift in the way we use our natural resources and a little extra work on our part but will ask for far less as time goes on while delivering far more in the way of a sustainable future.
It is time to ask ourselves if we would continue to do business with such a thoughtless provider of goods and services.
Think of the world and all the people on it as one big corporation with one customer. This customer, the climate, has already told us that she does not like our product, pollution. Our one significant customer is not buying it anymore but is instead retaliating and if we do not watch out we will be out of business.