It struck me last week that, whatever way I look at it, I will derive pleasure from hurting others.
On the one hand, as I have already acknowledged, my art practice – which I rely on for good mental health – is damaging the planet and so hurts others.
But, on the other hand is the fact that, in going ‘carbon neutral’, I shall have to stop supporting the environmentally unfriendly supply chain I purchase my art materials from. So, whilst I may feel good at doing my bit to save the planet, I would not just feel guilty at wasting the materials I already have but also because refusing to purchase art materials will hurt my suppliers financially.
Consequently, I am in a bind: whichever path I choose, it will hurt others.
Interestingly, I see this bind repeated elsewhere. For example, the Bank for International Settlements has published a report, The Green Swan, stating that the challenge of keeping global warming to 1.5° C threatens the stability of the banking system… yet, if global warming exceeds 1.5° C, the threat of climate and social collapse becomes far greater.
Additionally, the publication Geophysical Research Letters has reported that cleaning up air pollution could actually add to global warming. Yet we can’t possibly allow the pollution to remain, can we?
So it all seems very much a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.