The Real Issues
I read in the papers and hear on the news that world economic order is disintegrating. Major companies are failing and the banks are asking for government bailouts and talk of recession and even depression is on everyone’s lips. Even the plummeting cost of oil in the wake of the economic downturn does little to cheer. And those with good jobs are looking over their shoulders for the axe to fall.
There are a few of points I would like to make about all this. One is how the immediate threat to our lifestyles has us all heading the exits. We understand the turmoil that an economic downturn can bring and like the rearview mirror, it’s usually closer than it appears. The next is how tied we are to the traditional ways of the economy. We are told that the economy has to keep expanding, that we have to keep building and consuming, otherwise we will fall off the lifestyle map, things will turn bad and our civilization will crumble. The third is how quickly we take the real threat and put it on the back burner, in spite of the fact, it will be the one that really buries us.
First things first. Anything that turns down our consumerism is good, even if it has some uncomfortable aspects about it. The latest study from the Stern Review says that by the end of this century we MUST cut down carbon emissions by 80 per cent of what they were in 1990 to avert catastrophic impacts to us and the rest of the world. Its just the latest in a salvo of dire predictions and quite frankly, anyone who doubts their veracity is dreaming. And moreover, this latest economic storm is just a brushfire in comparison to the global conflagration that awaits us if we don’t make meaningful changes now.
But its not all doom and gloom. Here we sit, the west that is, at the pinnacle of society, educated, wealthy and privileged, and with an amazing technological prowess to boot. There is gold in them thar conundrums! Green energy, new technologies, computers,the internet, communication and the ability to change the face of the Earth itself. Those are opportunities and we choose to ignore the potential that we have at our own peril. This is an opportunity of unparalleled proportions. All we need to do is get our collective heads out of our collective moaning butts and do what we do best, innovate. Our abilities to solve problems is what makes society. We have to get off the consumerism bandwagon and hitch our innovative drive to solving the real problem. The environmental concerns that are hitting us everywhere.
And that leads me to the last point I was making. Its the environment stupid! In the coming years our progeny will shake their heads at the wrong headed stubbornness and greed of the generation called the Boomers. Forget the greasing of the palms of the corporate executives and their multinationals and fund the new companies that encourage less. It actually is more! The less we consume, the sooner do it the better. Ideas, methods and information are in the end more powerful than any SUV.
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