For nearly two years all our minds and energy have been focused on Covid-19. Our Government has, despite its critics and some admitted missteps, done a sterling job at caring for its people. The numbers speak for themselves.
It's not over yet by any means but we are slowly getting our lives back.
While the world has been going through this, the elephant in the room has been getting bigger and more serious, climate change.
Climate change is not as easy to deal with as a pandemic, this is serious stuff. It puts pandemics and wars into a minor category of the many things humanity needs to worry about.
Like many, when this was first being talked about years ago I thought: Really?
But then I am wired to follow the science in any subject, just my way. I understand the science behind vaccinations and I have come to understand, to my modest intellectual level, the science behind climate change.
You see, as my old mate Forrest Gump often said "I am not a clever man". But I know a lot of very clever people and I respect and admire their brains. Many very smart people end up as our scientists, doctors and researchers. The people who, at school, were maybe quite studious, self-contained, not party animals, maybe not sporty, but man did they have grunt in the upper two inches.
A proportion of those people are now climate scientists and, in their vast majority, agree that we have a problem. The American Association for the Advancement of Science stated recently "based on the evidence, about 97 per cent of climate scientists agree that human-caused climate change is happening."
Now, as a layman, I get that. Many extremely smart people are worried. Therefore I am worried. Not hard is it?
Humanity can fix big problems. Apparently, the ozone layer is now no longer an issue. But what is coming is a lot different. Getting rid of single-use plastic bags will not cut it.
Climate change cannot be left to politicians to address. They are, by their very nature, wired to shove the really difficult stuff to one side, not wanting to cause issues that may cost them power and control. They are mainly leaders only by name; self-interest is the driving force of many politicians.
There are hugely difficult issues that need changing. For example how New Zealand changes its agriculture sector but still ensures that it remains our biggest export earner is just too big for partisan politics to address.
Climate change needs a cross-party approach, politics to one side, a war-time coalition of all political views. That will never happen sadly.
Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has no interest whatsoever in stopping the rainforests being felled in the Amazon Basin. He probably does not even believe in climate change.
China and America, two of the world's biggest industrial polluters, have other issues that distract their leaders. China is in expansion mode and America is, well, nearly a broken state, torn apart by political factions who will never work together to achieve climate change.
Other world leaders see this and some must think deep down why bother?
I am no fan of the New Zealand Green Party but they are at present about the only political party in New Zealand that seems to want to make huge changes. They are also going through a period of internal bickering that could really sideline the party as an effective voice in Parliament for climate change. Once political parties begin infighting focus gets lost on everyone protecting their positions. Remember they are politicians. Selfish by nature.
We the common people are, at present, distracted by the normal things that good decent people who live small lives worry about. Covid-19, of course, jobs, children, housing, access to decent health care, our old people, just some of the stuff that makes all communities tick nowadays.
By the time the herd realises that climate change is really impacting our lives, and that is nearly here, it may be too late to stop.
People power will probably be the only way any government is forced to seriously address climate change, especially the big operators. Sadly what happens in those countries impacts New Zealand. We share the world, we just cannot opt-out.
Thankfully, as with Covid-19, we will fall back on the best and brightest among us to come up with the solutions that governments will not be able to ignore eventually. These very smart people know how to push the right buttons of self-interest and insecurity all politicians suffer from.
So what to do?
Firstly believe we have an issue, then talk about it all the time. Badger your local Members of Parliament. Remember they are your employees, they hold their status, perks and salaries at your pleasure.