For months I have wondered why it takes a sixteen-year old to make the world think about climate change again. She must be an interesting person, that is the best guess I can make. Thing is, climate change is a recurring phenomenon on our little blue and green planet. With or without humans it will happen over time because our colourful ball of dirt in space is kind of a living thing. All those myths about Gaia and fire goddesses had a truth in them that is unmistakable. The earth is kind of a living thing and it undergoes phases of change.
Then I started thinking. So people want to march on the streets to demand political policy changes that will address climate change? Good for them, that is one thing you can do. Whether you consider climate change a threat to mankind or not, our planet will do its thing regardless of us tiny humans. Protesting against pollution, waste and potential human suffering is still an act of kindness.
My position is simple. I am a nerd and a very curious one at that. You can talk all day about climate change and its effects, both beneficial and harmful. At one point I will ask the question:
“for every current and future problem, do you think there are solutions?”
If you are honest your answer is: “maybe.” If you are an idealist you will try to convince me that I should join you because even you do not have any solutions. The idealist would not admit to not knowing everything because believing in an ideal has a blinding effect. Idealists generally find it hard to admit their lack of knowledge. I was one thus I can admit it.
Now when thinking of all those climate change protestors who say we should save the planet and so on, well I partially agree. We humans should take better care of our planet. The resources on which we rely are finite. You see the biggest problem of our times is that many decisions by politicians in charge are based on assumptions that the earth’s resource are infinite until they are not. In short, they focus on short-term usage and ignore long-term effects that affect the future generations. Call it greed, call it capitalism it made fracking acceptable for politicians until the earthquakes started destroying homes.
Strangely that politicians and the mining and energy industry sometimes focus on short-term gains while ignoring the long-term effects is not the worst part for me. The worst part for me is the stupidity of the masses, this includes the protestors against climate change. At least the sixteen-year old from Sweden seems to be aware of this stupidity and avoids most things that generate waste.
As I grew up and learnt the value of money and learning to appreciate quality (i.e. workmanship and/or durability) I detested throwing good things away. I always detested wasting things that still had functional use given I grew up with little money. If what I bought was not fixable it was probably not worth buying. When I buy something it has to function and be reliable. I still reason like that without needing to drag the earth into this matter. Additionally it helps to not pollute your environment because well you live there, simple. (Even the Bible of all books addresses cleanliness. Mozes had to lead his people through a desert, hygiene mattered.)
We now live in a time where people complain about climate change and pollution yet ignore planned obsolescence. One day you march and scream for politicians to take action and the next day you run to the Apple store for your new iPhone. My current smartphone (Android) dates back to 2016 and I will not ditch my old Nokia with its old but reliable Symbian OS. You see Apple will brick your phone and force you to buy a new device because Apple does not believe in legacy. Planned obsolescence generates turnover but legacy decreases profits.
Often I had colleagues who considered MacBooks for higher education. I always advised to check for specification and end-use. For one MacBook you could and generally still can buy two well specified Lenovo T-series which you can upgrade yourself for years. Apple no longer allows the average consumer to take care of his or her MacBook. Have fun with that.
Also think of the trend of smart watches. If you want a proper watch with smart functions pick up a G-Shock 5600-series. Quartz or solar, it will last and you do not have to buy updated generations of smart watches every few years. If you want a watch that looks less square with still useful functions a Seiko or Citizen dive watch will survive at least a decade of abuse.
In addition to ignoring planned obsolescence there is the issue of not paying attention to the scarcity of clean water, clean soil and other vital resources for human survival on our colourful planet. In the near and later future there is a list of issues that can lead to immense suffering for many people.
- Pollution of the earth’s soil.
- Pollution of the sea.
- Decreasing supplies of clean drinking water around the world.
- The decrease of certain insects (especially bees).
- How to deal with plastics.
- Anti-biotics of today will lose their effectiveness in the future.
- Basic hygiene and modern sewage systems are lacking in some parts of the world.
- Lack of scientific education around the world which can revive the plague and ebola among other diseases.
- Nuclear energy is still a good alternative to coal (despite the nuclear waste).
- An energy crisis looms in the next 50 years, have fun solving that.
- Rising sea water levels.
I am not going to continue this list, too depressing. I know that I am privileged with the fact that I live in the Netherlands. At the same time I am very aware that keeping myself informed and voting with my wallet is more effective than making noise. I mean Greenpeace can tell me the world is hurting but in recent years this was an issue and they kept it quiet. Yeah right, look the other way while you can.
In conclusion, dear climate change protestors talk less and act more. If you want this earth to be cleaner now and later, drink less Cola, ignore those shiny iPhones and cut down on meat consumption. Learn more about science and accept that some current and future issues require a lot of time to solve. If you want to preach the nearing apocalypse have a go at it.
If you want to find solutions, for fuck’s sake educate yourself.