Moses is not the sort of chap to be trifled with, I can tell you. He was on chatting terms with God, and God entrusted him with the Ten Commandments. So you will understand when I say I'm not quite ready to go against those commandments, particularly the seventh, which is usually reduced to: Thou shalt not steal.
In this case the tempting target for theft was my daughter Anouchka, pictured above centre with her mother (left) and daughter Dot (right). Anouchka is a London shrink who has written more books than I ever will. Her latest book, just launched, is called A Guide to Eco-Anxiety: How to Protect the Planet and Your Mental Health. It's absolutely terrific, as are all of her other books. It contains an eminently pinchable insight as early as page 8. I've never read or heard this anywhere before, but I'm being careful to give Anouchka full credit. Thou shalt not, er, steal, remember? This is what Anouchka wrote:
All the early actions taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 had an immediately beneficial effect on the environment: flights grounded, reduced traffic on the road, evaluating what 'essential business' truly is.
As I've written earlier, as soon as the Covid-19 prevention measures took effect, people noticed and appreciated a change. In London the air cleared, birds sang, and traffic and jet plane noise fell. The same things happened in cities as far apart as San Francisco and New Delhi, to general delight. Back to Anouchka:
This has highlighted that there is scope for these changes to be made: it's not impossible (Anouchka's emphasis).
That, of course, is the whole point. In the past the actions deemed necessary to save the planet looked out of reach. Too stressful, too difficult, or too damaging, said all the usual Political Wise Heads. But the Covid-19 response has shown that it is all within our reach if we agree to do it. In fact we've already done it. So let's get on with it, this time to fight off global warming.
One of the most extraordinary phenomena of the Covid-19 regime has been the general lack of complaint. I wouldn't want to be a low-paid 30-year-old with two kids, living in a rented apartment with no job. Then I would complain. But even here in France, where a leaking tap is somehow the government's fault, there has been astonishingly little serious griping.
Given that climate change is now the No 1 concern for a majority of people in the developed world, it's just possible that maybe if we did some of the things we have to do to slow down global warming, people would accept this sacrifice much more readily than governments now believe they would.
In the meantime, if you are looking to find ways to stop futile worrying and do something, you can find Anouchka's new book in regular bookshops, or you can buy it online from Amazon by clicking here, or from Waterstones by clicking here.
If you'd like to see and hear Anouchka, she was one of the featured speakers on climate change at the Tufton Street Writer's Rebellion, held on 12 September in London, where an array of leading writers held forth on the role of privately subsidised think tanks. These think tanks constantly assure us that their rich fossil fuel paymasters are innocent of causing global warming and therefore can do nothing to help. (Think of what happened 30 years ago with the tobacco lobby. We are in the same leaky boat today, but this time we are being fed a lot of pseudo-scientific nonsense about the myth of global warming.) All of the speeches are available on YouTube by clicking here. If you don't want to listen to them all, Anouchka starts at about 1 hour 7 minutes, just after Zadie Smith.