Economic growth is an unnecessary evil, Jacinda Ardern is right to deprioritise it

Jacinda Ardern


Long revered as a stalwart of a capitalist society the need to grow has come to overshadow everything else. 
 
We prioritise it over our personal health, we prioritise it over the health of the planet and we prioritise it over our happiness.
But as long as growth is the target of our economic systems people will continue to focus on chewing, which is neither a sustainable nor desirable trait of an economy.
Which is why I welcomed news that New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has put out a national budget where spending is dictated by what best encourages the “well-being” of citizens, rather than focussing on traditional bottom-line measures like productivity and economic growth. http://bit.ly/313ptx4
 

Poise, Power, and the Young Women Leading the Way

A New Generation, Betrayed by the Old, is Rising Up on Climate Change 

Greta Thunberg

 The voice. At first, it was the voice that took hold of them. Slightly off, coming out of a little girl’s body. A metallic voice, sharp as a blade, trembling not because of stress or shyness, oh no—trembling with rage, a cold rage set to overtake them. And then the words themselves. “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden, you leave to us, children. … Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.” 

Remarkable twist here: you, adults, world leaders, beaming bosses and consumers, are the unconscious, immature ones. We, children of the 21st century, are taking control, since you are obviously incapable of doing anything new at the steering wheel. 

“We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not.” Then she leaves the stage and disappears. Read More

 

Orellana’s Robots

Historian Ed Hart explained what happened next:

Orellana’s Robot

Having traveled 200 leagues (a league equates to 2.6 miles) down fast-flowing rivers through inhospitable country where food was scarce, in the end his party hadn’t the food, the capacity, the support or the means to alleviate Pizarro’s predicament. There was no way back. They were both in the same famished predicament only in different places.

By improvisation and his unique skills, especially in languages, Orellana and his men escaped being swallowed by the jungle, eaten by crocodiles or strung up on poles by headhunters, and managed to find their way across the uncharted continent to the Atlantic Ocean, where they navigated the coast to Venezuela and returned from there to Spain. To Emperor Carlos V, Orellana’s tale seemed fantastic and contrived, and so it was that Carvajal’s Jornadas languished four centuries on a dusty library shelf, unpublished.

In recent days we have seen ramped-up interest both in the terra preta soils, which, as Lovelock said, are essential to any plan to escape the juggernaut of rapid climate change, and in the history of ancient civilizations. All around the planet, LIDAR imaging has rolled back the forest cover and, in the Amazon, revealed vast city complexes, validating Carvajal’s account. While slow to understand what soil scientists like Sombroek, et al, were telling them, climate scientists are now connecting the dots and starting to glimpse how a terra preta therapy might heal our atmosphere and oceans. Read More

How Life Under Predatory Capitalism Traumatized a Nation

Predatory Capitalism

Here’s a fact that might shock and alarm you. People in Venezuela and Iraq feel less stressed than Americans. Venezuela — you know, the poster child of social collapse, and, war-torn Iraq. How can Venezuelans and Iraqis be less stressed than Americans? What the? Just think about that for a second.

I recently took a look at Gallup’s World Emotional Temperature thermometer. It’s a survey about how people feel, all over the world. Feel — not just how much they’re making, Instagramming, tweeting, etcetera — but what their lives really feel like. Gallup didn’t quite see it — or maybe didn’t want to talk about it — but the facts say…surprise, surprise: America’s the most stressed out, angriest, and worried country in the rich world — by a very long way. It’s more stressed than many middle income countries, and even poor ones (like El Salvador, Panama, and Guatemala).

Read More 

 

Hague climate change judgement could inspire a global civil movement

Hague climate change judgement

“You have been negotiating all my life”, cried out 21-year-old Anjali Appadurai from the lectern of a UN climate change conference four years ago. The activist, speaking on behalf of her nation’s youth, could have speaking for anyone who has taken a mild interest in more than two decades of international negotiations on climate change and stood aghast as world leaders have failed to protect the most basic of human rights – to exist.

But today, thanks to 886 Dutch citizens who decided to sue their government, all of that may change. We may not have to wait for the politicians to save us – the lawyers may step in instead. In the first successful case of its kind, a judge in the Hague has ruled that the Dutch government’s stance on climate change is illegal and has ordered them to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a hefty 25% within five years. Read More