I know there is A LOT going on in the world right now, and it was such a relief to see some of the hostages released by Hamas (I hope they are ok!), as well as Palestinian women and children released from Israeli prisons. But the environment news this week has been HUGE and I just want to focus on one key report, which I believe makes the whole “who’s responsible?” issue confusing.
The report, of course is from Oxfam, titled: Climate Equality: a planet for the 99%. All of the coverage (and you’ll see a lot below) is focusing on the top 1% of polluters and here’s an example of one headline: Twelve billionaires’ climate emissions outpollute 2.1m homes.
These are the mega wealthy, the .001% and their emissions come from private jets, super yachts, luxury mansions and on we could go, but it is the political power they hold and where they invest that is really being called out for its extreme contribution to emissions and civilizational collapse.
My only issue with this coverage, is yes, this group ABSOLUTELY makes an outsized contribution to the climate crisis with their personal emissions and it’s beyond time we addressed it. Extreme inequality is a HUGE issue that must be tackled too, but are they really the only one’s responsible?
Here’s the graphic from the report which shows the emissions based on earning capacity around the world. The middle 40% is where I’m questioning the report, or the emphasis of the report, to be precise.
I want to challenge these conclusions and when I mention these numbers to people, they always go and check, so feel free to do it yourself. However, did you know there are 3.8 billion middle class people in the world, which is expected to grow to 4.8 billion by 2030? This means the middle-class is nearly 50% of the world’s population (not 10%), and it’s the largest spending group in the world, sitting in the driver’s seat for increased consumption of goods and materials.
As an example, the mega wealthy aren’t buying so much fast fashion we can see the landfills from space, WE are. They might own the fast fashion companies, but we are the consumers, and we are buying more clothes than we ever have, wearing them less than we ever did, often throwing them away before we’ve even worn them. This is all creating massive environmental devastation.
Of course, the mega wealthy are eating the luxuries our lands, rivers and oceans provide, but the crash of our marine and aquatic life is not because of them (there’s 2,640 billionaires FYI), it’s because there are too many of us who can now afford to eat fish. The deforestation for agriculture, phosphorous released into our water from animal farming, as well as the monocrops to feed agricultural animals, all so we can eat more meat? That’s on us too.
They might own the businesses creating this destruction, but until we stop buying it, will anything change? As an example, there’d be a violent revolution on our hands if McDonalds went plant-based, but that’s exactly the sort of revolution we need in the food game. I always get pushback on this idea too, but if you truly understood the precipice we were at, you’d know these are the sort of moves we need to be making now.
Another big issue is the blame game divides us. We should be able to highlight what billionaires are doing wrong and strongly encourage them to change – because, you know, seriously it’s in their interest, as history shows eventually, they will be brought down – one way or another.
But when we’re focussing all of our rage and vitriol at them, we miss our own responsibility, but we also miss our power from the middle. We, the middle class, drive the global economy and there is a lot of power in 3.8 billion voices, so let’s significantly reduce our emissions and waste, organize our communities to rewild our world, and speak up and drive change worldwide. The billionaires will change when we stop buying what they sell – how can they not?
We need to reinvent our world – how we live, how we consume, and we must live within the balance of the natural world, which requires redeveloping nature consciousness, or we will continue to see our lives degrade, and it’s happening faster now.
And here’s the content I’ve been reading, listening to or watching. Scan the headlines, read the ones that jump out at you, read, listen to or watch them all. It’s time to pay attention to the information that matters.
Resources for those struggling with eco-anxiety. Please share with your community.
Finally, more than 100 mini-videos on many topics regarding the multiple crisis’ we face. Feel free to download and use as your own. No credit necessary.
Uncommon Courage: an invitation
Uncommon Courage is an invitation to be your courageous best self every day. It’s also an antidote to the overwhelm, fear, and rage rolling around the world. But it’s more than a book; it’s an invitation to join an inclusive community that wants to better understand humanities challenges – both global and personal – in order to take courageous action and create a better world for everyone. If Covid19 has given us the time and space to reflect, Uncommon Courage gives us the nudge we need to create lasting change.
Listed by Book Authority in the 100 Best LinkedIn Books of All Time and 22 Best New LinkedIn eBooks To Read In 2021 and 2022 categories. Grab it today if you want to take your professional presence to the next level! When it comes to LinkedIn, it really is time to ask — can you really afford not to have this book in the hands of every employee?
Have I done a great job for you? Can you write a reference on my LinkedIn profileor on my Google Business page? If not for me, why not write one for someone else who inspires you or has helped you? Join the #GivingEconomy.