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Miscellaneous

Covid will Never End Until we act on Climate

After a year and a half of covid chaos in the UK and around the world, I think it’s fair to assume at this point that covid-19 will not end until we get serious about the climate crisis. Specifically, that means ending capitalism and reducing consumption drastically and immediately.

Technically, New Zealand has proven that you actually can continue with capitalism while still keeping covid at bay and protecting your citizens. But you need to do short and sharp full lockdowns every time local cases begin. We’ve seen just today Jacinda Ardern putting NZ in lockdown for one locally transmitted case. That might sound strange to people in the UK for example since we currently have 30k cases per day (officially) and no restrictions, but it’s what a good government does.

But because most countries seem incapable of learning that very simple lesson, we won’t end covid globally that way. And even if we could, it wouldn’t solve the aforementioned capitalism and consumption issues that are wrecking our climate. So that leaves climate action (specifically system change) as the only option.

If we end capitalism, and we move to a type of system where we live more local lives and people are provided the basics to live, then it would be incredibly easy to stay away from others and end the spread. People wouldn’t be forced to go to work where they could catch or spread the virus. A roof over their head, food on the table, water, heat, etc would be guaranteed. Poverty and homelessness would be consigned to the history books.

Every day we keep doing nothing, we’re making both crises worse and worse, leading to unnecessary suffering and the deaths of a huge number of people. We have to ask ourselves whether this is really the way we want to live when we can have so much better. Will we say enough is enough and force an end to the type of politics that is unwilling and incapable of doing anything about covid or climate?

I really hope so, but it has to be soon. COP26 can’t be a green growth summit with weak goals for 2050. This system isn’t working. Take a look around you and ask yourself how much of what you see is making your life better and happier? And when you realise not very much of it is, stop living the way society wants you to.

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Miscellaneous

Doing Something about the Climate Crisis isn’t Better than Nothing

I’m not even sure this is true any more

Recently, people often tell me that I should accept any progress that is being made towards sustainability. But I always push back on that. The climate crisis is now so dire that only huge, immediate change can give us any real hope of a future we can look forward to.

We know that we have to get emissions to zero as soon as possible, capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and deploy solar radiation management techniques. That’s what the latest science is saying. Switching to EV ownership, or slowly electrifying bus fleets over decades aren’t things I’m going to support. They’re arguably worse than doing nothing. Because when you don’t understand and consider the whole problem, and just take various measures that aren’t part of a joined-up strategy, you take your focus off of what must be done, and waste precious time as well. Two things we absolutely can’t afford.

Obviously I don’t want to actually do nothing. But if we took the time to understand the full scale of what we’re facing, society would be far more likely to come to the collective realisation that the entire system has to change.

The more I think about this, the more I realise how much of a problem it is. It applies to almost everything. From trying to build bike lanes when in reality the only thing we have time for is banning cars; to net zero carbon targets where planting forests that could later burn is seen as a solution. The entire system we have right now is just trying to present guaranteed future failure as a solution we should get behind.

It’s time we started talking about real solutions. The big solutions. Banning cars, banning domestic flights, cycling, public transport etc. The types of things that can have an impact now, when we really need it. Not in 30 years when it will be too late.

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Miscellaneous

How do you live sustainably as a Billionaire?

If you were a billionaire and you chose to live a sustainable life from this point forward, what could you actually spend your money on? It’s a pretty interesting question.

Living sustainably means creating the lowest impact you possibly can in every area of your life. Your home, transport, food and drink and everything in between. I’m certainly not an expert on this. I just think it’s an interesting topic to speculate about. And it may not be long at all before the age of Jeff Bezos buying the biggest house in LA without a second thought is over with. So why not prepare ourselves for that day now?

I imagine that for housing, you’d be limited to either a tiny house of some description, or the smallest flat that could meet your living requirements with no excessive space. The only real difference between the rich and the poor would be the area the building is located, and the materials used in the construction.

Transport is quite a simple one as I see it. We will have autonomous cars pretty soon, and I imagine that as part of this transition, you will no longer be allowed to own a car for your own use exclusively. And you certainly won’t be able to accumulate giant garages of exotic fossil fueled sports cars. Money will certainly give you access to more luxurious autonomous vehicles, but it will still be a far cry from the private jet lifestyle we see today. We will likely also see Hyperloop emerge as a replacement for flying and this will likely offer private pods for the wealthy in a similar way as we see today. But you won’t own them as the billionaires of today own their jets. So again, another area where more money won’t give you the huge difference in experience which is currently the case.

When it comes to clothing and general stuff, we will all be living in these small homes, and any stuff you buy will need to be useful and not excessive. You’ll still be able to use your wealth to buy the nicest clothes out of the most exclusive sustainable materials, but you’ll be limited in how much you can own. We will all have smaller wardrobes, filled with much higher quality stuff that we will actually wear. This will be a huge improvement over the current situation, and will massively narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

I could go on but I think this makes the situation quite clear. The future that we know is coming requires us to live smaller, more locally, with less (albeit higher quality stuff). There will be no mansions, giant yachts, private jets or supercar collections to spend your billions on. So perhaps this has something to do with the fierce resistance to the ideas of Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and anyone else who dares spout just a tiny amount of this thing called common sense which has been long forgotten in world society.

The end of capitalism is required in order to make a better world, and they will fight us all the way. Which doesn’t really make a lot of sense considering we want a better world. It’s not like we’re threatening to blow everything up like a villain in a blockbuster movie after all.