December 12, 2018

You Can't Deny The Laws Of Physics

Another climate conference, another wasted opportunity. No doubt when COP24, taking place in the heart of Polish coal country, is over, it will still lack the commitments required. That is because what we really need is a system change.

Our current system is unsustainable, and we have known it for hundreds of years. It defies not only common sense, but also the laws of physics, to believe that infinite growth can happen in perpetuity in a closed system. Of course it can't, and therefore the denial found in all areas where the worst offenders live.

Today a small group of humans enjoy multi-planet lifestyles, while others are getting on a fraction of that, sometimes with a better quality of life. Our excessive lifestyles can only be supported by ecosystem degradation, the exploitation of the poorest among us, and by stealing resources from future generations. 

Consumer lifestyles not only defy any moral code, they also defy physics - you can't have 4.5 planet lifestyles for long when you only have one planet. 

The richest 10% of us (500 million people) are responsible for half of the climate-harming fossil fuel emissions. Those in the bottom 50% of wealth (about 3.5 billion people) contribute only about 10% of global emissions.

"Climate change and economic inequality are inextricably linked and together pose one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. 
Rich, high emitters should be held accountable for their emissions, no matter where they live.” 
- Tim Gore, Oxfam, head of food and climate policy

We need both local and global solidarity to avoid a climate catastrophe. However, the establishment is fighting hard to prevent such solidarity to form because it threatens profits and powerful individuals. 

Therefore, we can't wait for governments, or corporations, to save us. Individuals, especially those with high footprints, will have to take the lead on making the necessary changes that will make a significant difference right away. 

"If the top 10% of high consumption carbon emitters cut their carbon footprint to the level of the average European citizen, that would be the equivalent of a one-third cut in global emissions, even if the other 90 percent did nothing. 
I mean, a one-third cut in global emissions just from that 10 percent reducing footprints to the level of the average European citizen." 
- Kevin Anderson, professor in climate change leadership 

So who are the most important climate leaders? Unfortunately, not the ones currently nursing their denial in Poland. It is up to us. And while we do this thing together, we will be building the better world we know is possible.


  1. I am trying, it does irritate me that every darn thing you buy is wrapped in plastic.

    1. Plastics are a scourge on the planet. There are sustainable alternatives that we could be using to replace plastic, but we might have to pay more for them. No one likes that.


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