There’s a character in David Copperfield called Mr Micawber. One of Dickens’ best (I’m told – I’ve only read about 4 of the damn things) comic creations, he is not only hopeless with money, but – crucially – has no perspective on risks and probabilities. There’s a bit about how he would come home declaring himself ruined beyond all hope of redemption but within a couple of hours declare that they might be able to afford some home improvements…
Here’s a bit from Wikipedia
Micawber is known for asserting his faith that “something will turn up”. His name has become synonymous with someone who lives in hopeful expectation. This has formed the basis for the Micawber Principle, based upon his observation:
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.”
If only we understood this with our carbon budget. Oh well…
It came to mind when I was reading the latest issue of Resurgence (of which more in another post). Jonathan Porritt draws a sort of similar picture – of eco-pessimist greens saying it’s all Too Late (yup) and another lot who say we might just have a very sunny future, if we get our shit together right away.
I know which future my money is on.