Inaction index

We moan. We moan when we are with friends, at the street market, at the soccer stadium, in the taxi, on the bus, or on the beach in front of cameras which aim to pad out TV news bulletins with topless females. We moan about the weather. We moan about the loss of seasons which are now down to two, and climate change – which is being felt much earlier than had been predicted by experts (with the exception of those who refused to yield to political or economic pressures). We moan about the intolerable weather and the forthcoming heat waves that are expected not only to fully test our physical stamina but also the country’s power grid (repeated official reassurances have failed to ease public concerns, quite the opposite in fact). But our moaning remains private. We chat among ourselves, sipping a soda or one more beer in the coolness of our air-conditioning, already switched on and operating since early spring. Judging from the near-zero impact of the capital’s smog problem on our collective conscience (environmental issues are generally absent from election agendas at both the national and local level), there is little reason to hope that global warming will force us to abandon cost-free moaning for more social, more political forms of protest, in order to save what can still be saved. Smog levels regularly exceed limits prescribed by national health standards, without spurring state officials or members of the public to action. If Greece were to adopt something similar to the US temperature-humidity index (aptly known as the discomfort index), we would no doubt be in for a string of record-breaking readings. Meanwhile, we should brace ourselves to join the estimated 1 billion people who will have to migrate by 2050 because of climate change.