If you want a feel good post, click away. Both these problems cause a huge amount of suffering. The Plan B pitched by a few Silicon Valley billionaires of colonising Mars is hopium at best; Earth is were we all live.
It is a Climate Crisis (not the nicer sounding Climate Change) and it is happening right now. There is suffering and adaptation happening now as well as some forward looking mitigation. Amazingly there is also still some resistance from lobbies funded by legacy fossil fuel companies.
I am an entrepreneur aka an optimist by nature. So I promise some hopeful stuff later; but it would be wrong to just skim over the problems.
Financial Inequality and Climate Crisis are related. Our obsession with growth at all costs benefits those who own financial assets and this drives both Financial Inequality and the Climate Crisis. Capitalism is clearly a highly flawed system, but there is no viable alternative because communism has already been tried and it failed. So our only hope is from a reformed version of capitalism that can fix both Financial Inequality and Climate Crisis. My optimism comes from a belief that this is possible.
Some Growth is good. Growth that enables billions of people to earn a living is good. Growth that destroys the planet and only benefits a few people is bad – duh! Sadly, the hypercapitalism that replaced inclusive capitalism after the collapse of the Berlin Wall killed off capitalism’s only alternative, delivered the latter.
We had a preview of the coming horror from the pandemic. Neither the virus nor extreme weather care what your passport says or what politics you profess; they are equal opportunity killers.
The wealthy can protect themselves better than poor people but they are not immune (even if a few billionaires think they will live forever on Mars); recognition of that fact is cause for optimism. Other causes of optimism:
- Capitalism is good at aligning resources (human and cash capital) to big challenges. There is lots money to be made in fixing the Climate and it is a big motivating mission (“save the human race” has a nice ring to it) so the best minds and lots of cash will be drawn to this challenge.
- Even if it is cynical greenwashing, ESG makes a difference. It is easy to point to companies who sing one song to the public while doing the exact opposite in private board or lobbying meetings. However change does come from public dialogue, particularly if this impacts profits (and thus the private meetings as well).
- Financial Inequality is relatively simple to fix. It may be fixed through taxes or private initiatives, but compared to the PHD challenge of fixing climate, this challenge is kindergarten grade.
- We have political leadership in America committed to fixing the climate crisis. This is NOT a political blog, but I do think that 4 more years of Trump would have been game over for our planet.
- The denial arguments have shifted. There is no longer any denial that the climate is changing, just that humans/C02 caused it. For suffering and adaptation, who/what caused it is irrelevant and with big money and politics at least publicly claiming to be on the side of clean energy the debate will soon also shift on the last point.
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