But really, is it already too late to save the world?
We can only speculate, only time will tell.
At any rate, profound change needs to happen and fast, now, yesterday, or it will certainly be too late.
So what do I think is wrong? What needs to change?
Well, where do I start? We managed to create such a mess on this planet, that it’s quite difficult to decide where to begin.
We are the 99 %
The deregulated financial market has gone out of hand years ago. It is a miracle, that it has not collapsed yet. The gap between the super rich and the poor has increased to perverse levels. The greed of some of the super rich seems to know no limits.
Any economy that declares certain companies “too big too fail” will sooner or later be in real trouble. At that point the power shifts from the state to the corporations and we no longer live in a democracy. The super rich and their companies hold all governmental bodies by the balls. Democracy has turned into a de facto oligarchy.
While most of the super rich stay in the background and influence politics through lobbies and campaign support, some of them get openly involved in politics. In Switzerland, just as an example, one of the richest guys in the country, also runs and probably pretty much finances – we don’t know for sure, since there is no obligation for transparency – the Swiss People’s Party, running on a populist and xenophobic agenda that is about as right wing as it can get before turning brown. His main goals, deregulation and social cuts, typical neo con fair, thinly disguised underneath the immigration issues and xenophobia that he uses to scare and mobilize the masses. Who profits from his politics? The rich and super rich? Yet who supports Blocher and his party in Switzerland? The farmers and socially disadvantaged. It is so frustrating to watch and rarely so obvious, but in Switzerland money really does buy political influence.
In Switzerland 1% of the population own 59 % of the wealth. That is an even more extreme ratio than say in Germany or the US. This ratio is as extreme as the one in Columbia. The problem in this country, the “poor” people here are still pretty well off, unemployment is low, social services function, the wealth somehow seems to trickle down. But even worse, we are all collectively responsible for this situation. In a sense all Swiss citizens profit from big business and the banks, these same banks that generate their blood money by offering tax haven and banking secret to the super rich from around the world. Name one of the recently toppled dictators who didn’t have a Swiss bank account … The Swiss are collectively caught in this scheme, which leads to reactions from shame to cynical boasting.
Meanwhile a mixture of guilt and outrage over deregulation and social cuts has finally brought a timid group of people here in Switzerland to join the international occupy movement in protest.
But will we be able to reach a critical mass and motivate any real change? It’s late in the game … We are already in extra time.
We are a cry from the heart of the World
Even more grave, and of course totally related to corporate greed is our environmental situation. Our planet is overpopulated and it’s not looking as if population growth will slow down anytime soon – sauf catastrophe.
Human population was able to grow out of proportion, because of medical advances and industrial agriculture. Big agriculture relies on fertilizers made from and produced with fossil fuels as well as a distribution system that relies on oil. Most areas where Big Agriculture grows corn and wheat would no longer yield anything, unless more and stronger fertilizer keeps getting added. The top soil is pretty much depleted, should we stop to add these fertilizers in these areas, we would be left with a pile of dust that would blow away in the wind.
Meanwhile many scientists claim, that we have already moved beyond Peak Oil, meaning our oil reserves will start to run out soon, with the immediate effect that fuel will get more expensive. Fossil fuels also contribute heavily to global warming and other potential ecological catastrophes. We look at overpopulation made possible by a resource about to be depleted, and at the same time this is just one of the mechanisms, that might well lead to the demise of our species.
We poison our food with chemical agents to preserve it, make it look better, fluffy, shiny, white or what not. On the markets we speculate on food, pushing the price of corn and wheat to record levels, which in turn contributes in large part to world hunger. Of the 7 billion people on this planet 1 billion are poor, which means they can experience catastrophic famine at any moment.
As if these potential disasters were not grave enough add to these nuclear waste, water scarcity, and the many more toxic and poisonous materials humans have produced and discarded into landfills, and all this why? To satisfy our greedy consumerist lifestyle …
Nature is pretty much fucked. We should have started to unfuck it years ago. The timid attempts to protect nature that were initiated over these last years just did not go far enough. Is there still time to save the planet?
This is the beginning of the beginning
The past few years I have been compulsively checking my Twitter feed for messages announcing impending doom. I had pretty much lost all hope that we can turn this mess around. Ask me then, I would have answered, it is too late, we have let things go too far.
But instead last winter and spring I read about the arab spring, then spain, and in summer I found #occupywallstreet, and all this has given me hope. I might project too much on it, but here finally are people who are saying enough is enough and doing so in a non-violent, creative, constructive ways. It took off in the US and when it came to Switzerland naturally I joined. It’s been fun and constructive, but I keep wondering why there are not more people getting involved.
I am grateful to see the occupy movement taking a stand and I fully support it. But how can we affect real change? We are looking at such profound changes that need to happen, many of us, even some protesters, will have trouble to accept them. Consumerism is everywhere and some of the stuff money buys is so fucking cool.
Create the Change You wish to see in the World
The deregulated global economy? It needs to collapse.
Corporations effectively running our governments? That needs to stop.
Or their greed will simply kill us all.
But every single one of us need to be willing to make huge sacrifices individually and change our ways.
In my own life I have tried to change to a very careful and respectful life style. But there is only so much I can do, and, if I am perfectly honest, so much I am willing to do. I grow my own vegetables, eat only organic vegetarian food, use public transport, no longer own a car, we even moved to a so called ecological development, that turned out to be one huge disappointment, but that’s another story. But so much is wrong with all the things i currently do, much of it does serve not much more of a purpose, than to appease my own guilt. For instance, I can only grow food because I got lucky and happen to live in the small area on the earth, where that is even possible, right climate, enough water, good topsoil. Move me to central Spain or Africa, and my project goes bust. In other words, I am privileged on so many levels. And then I still love my gadgets, my plasma TV and my hip clothing way too much. Just last week I bought some winter boots “Made in China”, knowingly. Yes. i felt guilty, but I still bought them.
The annoying demand for demands
Some people will read this and say “duh”. Others will reject it with violent denial. Most won’t ever read it, since I am just one small voice on the huge internetz adding to the noise. Even I wonder, why I would suddenly feel the need to state the obvious here?
Everybody, the press and everyone else, keeps pointing out that the Occupy Movement does not have a list of clear demands. We are confronted with a ferocious demand for demands. But look at the state the world is in, look at all the problems we have to address, so much is going wrong. If anything, we have too many demands. And as naive as this may sound, we mainly just want a better world.
And this quote might also explain it:
you can’t just say, we demand a world of peace, demands have to be specific. [yet] anything that people can articulate can only be articulated within the language of the current political discourse. and that entire political discourse is already too small. and that’s why making explicit demands kind of reduces the movement and takes the heart out of it. that’s a real paradox, but I think the movement understands that [source: the revolution is love]
Here’s how I would say it: If humanity is running straight into the open knife, do we need to stop humanity from running or do we have to take down the knife? Probably both, and that is why this task feels sooooo enormous… It feels overwhelming. I am confused and I don’t have the solution. But I am willing and exited to start the process and to look into possible ways, and to learn how to find consensus and interact with others in a non-violent, democratic way. Let the change we want to see in the world be the guideline of how we go about it.
Only tribes will survive
Food, Energy and Finance are the three main areas where huge shifts need to happen fast. However we could get there faster by starting at the other end, by building tribes, by organizing ourselves in our neighborhoods, to grow our own food, share our resources, our fridge space, our kitchens, to reduce our collective carbon footprint, etc. asf.
Maybe the shit really does need to hit the fan before things start to change. Some of the solutions we now develop might well have to be for post-apocalyptic times. It might well have to be the end of the nation state as we know it and the dawn of a new way to organize humans into smaller, localized communities and tribes. “Small is beautiful”. “Bolo’Bolo”. Localized, regional economies and live-work units interwoven with each other, in touch with nature and socially responsible must replace the nation state.