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Well, can we still get the climate / our environment saved (from us)?

I do not think so!

Short justification: We simply cannot help but produce and consume more and more. We are taking more and more natural substances such as petroleum or iron ore and using a lot of energy to convert them into more and more unnatural, damaged, difficult-to-degrade things such as plastic or cars. This is the DNA of our global economy and our growing consumer society. By now you would have to put all the people on earth on the scales to balance the annual production of plastic. The mass of man-made objects (including houses, etc.) has doubled every 20 years over the past 100 years, according to a recent study. Everything we make and use uses energy. This promotes CO2 emissions.

What is currently happening is a race: we are trying to get more energy with less CO2. Hence electric cars. Our goal: to stop global warming and protect US from hurricanes, floods, etc.

We are not trying to produce and consume less and thus place less strain on the environment.

Is that bad?

For us: No, because we always find ways to adapt.

For our nature: No, because it always finds ways to adapt.

Now some prose...

We only really become interested in something and change our behavior when there is a personal connection. And often not even then. Microplastics in the oceans are not real to us. So we happily continue to fill yellow bags with masses of packaging. Just recently, the Federal Environment Agency reported another record: each individual citizen produced an estimated 227.5 kilograms of packaging waste per year! 227.5 kilograms!

In recent years we have not produced less waste, but more waste. And who knows what the number will look like for 2020 with the millions of take-away food and drinks due to the lockdown. And these are the numbers of us exemplary Germans. If you look at how other countries seemingly carelessly throw out single-use plastic and even get basic food like water entirely from single-use plastic, well, then our plastic problem is likely to get bigger. This is exemplary for our consumer society. Clothes also no longer have any value and are bought and thrown away when you can get jeans, a sweater, or a jacket for 10 euros in a bill store. Dirty sneakers – into the bin!
We seek our happiness in things and activities. Everything should be pleasant for us and satisfy some need. Whether at home, on a package holiday, camping, cycling, in the car, in a relationship, in a museum or on Facebook. We say yes everywhere to more comfort, to more value for money, to more image. Yes to the larger refrigerator (cool with an integrated ice cube machine), yes to the fancy kitchen knick-knacks, yes to the fancy tent equipment and the camper, yes to more exquisite drinks - but everything is somehow sustainable and fair.

And our children should also be happy and be able to do and have everything they want. It's not all that expensive.

Do we have fewer cars today? No!
Do we use less electricity? No!
Are we creating less waste? No, even more! 
Are we consciously making any real restrictions? The fewest people in the world!

But there is hope... There is a lot more organic food today, cars will only be powered by green electricity in the future, plastic will be recyclable and the urban Fridays for Future kids are in a better mood anyway. But our global human master plan remains material and demands more and new things.

Let's take China. The 1.4 billion Chinese people are becoming more and more successful, they no longer want dreary village life and only eat rice bowls every morning, lunch and evening, but also want wealth, fancy cars and a lot of good pork. You demand your right to consumption and material prosperity.

Good for us! We have the great machines to help produce prosperity in China. We also have the cool cars. And we have top-quality, bred quality pigs. Unfortunately the Dutchman has that too.

To ensure that the pig price is right, we buy soy feed in Brazil, where it costs very little thanks to the cleared forests. Unfortunately, our pig factories cannot buy it fairly or from somewhere else, because then the Chinese will buy the pig from the Dutch. And the poor pig farmers in Schleswig Holstein and the entire Tönnies slaughter crew would be sitting on the street. That's not possible - Greta or Amazon.

Who is the bad guy here now? The Chinese for whom eating pork means happiness? The German pig farmer who has to buy soy cheaply in Brazil? The Brazilian who cuts down the rainforest because there is no other job/perspective?

The global economic engine is just incredibly complicated, interconnected and complex. We cannot denounce China as the largest emitter of CO2 when the whole world is simultaneously dependent on China's economic power and hunger for growth. If China weakens, things look bleak all over the world. Stock market crash, unemployment, fear, radical parties, isolation, war – the full program. 

And that is also the crux: The DNA of the global economy is to “run at full speed” and deliver more and more output and innovations. All companies have only one goal: grow, more!


Example: I was very happy with my 10 Gbyte internet line. Everything went well. Then (contract ends) the good news: I can now upgrade to the fat 100Gbyte line and easily stream 4K. 

Me: “But I’m happy even without 4K!” 
Provider: “OK, then you’ll still get the 100 GB, as a test, and a new, faster router too. The old one can only handle up to 20 GB anyway and won’t be supported for much longer.”

Telecom providers have to offer more and more in order to survive.
And the television manufacturers and the entertainment industry depend
in there. And so do their suppliers.

Another example: All manufacturers (everyone!) are currently tinkering with self-driving cars at full speed. In order for them to drive themselves, fast connections and fast internet are needed everywhere. The truly visionary, incredible super guy Elon Mask and his company Starlink are shooting satellites into orbit. 900 are already flying. But are the 12,000 new Starlink satellites planned to be in orbit by 2027 (40,000 in the long term) a good thing? Can a company or a country simply make such extreme interventions in space? And do we even need self-driving cars? For what exactly? How do self-driving cars contribute to our happiness and a better world? 

Doesn't matter! Because the satellites are already approved and on the way (really beautiful to see as pearls in the night sky from time to time) and will provide us with fast internet very soon. ->Tagesschau article from December 18th.

Autonomous cars, taxi drones and other new stuff are coming soon. 
B: Why? 
A: Because companies just have to develop and sell new stuff. And we have to do our part to make it work. This is called value creation. Our jobs depend on keeping this economic engine running. 

And at some point we also believe that we need the new stuff:

“Yeah, great, finally a self-driving Tesla – I need that for luck!”

Or we just get used to it:

“Ok, now the car drives itself.”

So we keep busy all day long with new innovations that want our attention, fiddling around with apps, getting information, communicating, ordering and returning and happily optimizing our lives somewhere. Avoiding consumption in all areas could perhaps be the best and perhaps the only means of slowing down our economic engine and putting less strain on the climate and nature. But we're not doing well, it's disrupting the engine, as the current Corona forced break shows. We don't want any restrictions! Not even for the sake of nature. We also prefer big cars to small ones. This is what the sales figures show. Where did the little 3 liter car go? Or where the McDonald's burger made from organic meat? Who says no to more luxury? No to the 100 Gbyte line? No to an attractive job with more money and responsibility? No to new customers or more sales?

Renunciation contributes neither to our self-preservation nor to reproduction. So why?
And - not to forget - half of the world's population is rather poor and still has a lot of catching up to do in terms of consumption. They still need everything we already have. It's easy to forget that in our rich country.

Well, and so we toil in the home office, floundering through this strange time of little sacrifice and hoping for an end as quickly as possible. Finally doing what we want without limits again.

And here I am at the end.

Will we still be able to save the climate/our environment (from ourselves)?

What do you think?

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