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Reversing climate change

We keep getting told that we are rapidly approaching the point where we may not be able to reverse the severe effects of climate change, yet we are still increasing the amount of greenhouse gasses.

Stop enabling psychopaths

The executives who run the fossil fuel companies have been persuading us to keep allowing them to pollute, despite knowing that they are killing us and the planet. We must stop them in their tracks.

Psychopaths have no empathy and serve only themselves, so we cannot let them be in charge of industries that pollute or governments that allow them. They don't care if we or the planet get sick and die. They are only concerned with what they want and will try to stop anyone getting in their way. They are not just leading fossil fuel companies, but every enterprise that seeks to amass fortunes for themselves while destroying the environment and peoples' lives and livelihood.

They are the ones who live and promote lifestyles that consume ever increasing energy and resources, while robbing others of the opportunity to have better lives. They promote themselves as helping to make our lives better but have only really succeeded in blinding us to the destruction they create. If we are to have a planet that can support all of us to have a comfortable yet not excessive life, we must prevent these psychopaths from destroying our chance to survive, now and in the future.

There is no time to stand still and pretend that we can still have indulgent lifestyles while ignoring how much collective damage we create. We cannot make the significant personal and collective lifestyle changes that we need to make if we still keep listening to and believing what those who only want to exploit us tell us is good for us. Time to tell the peddlers of our increasingly dystopian present that we don't need them, but not only that, we need to turn off the channels and enablers that give credence to them. Time to open our eyes and know that we must not follow them over the cliff.

Individual effort

While making individual energy-use changes may not be enough to reverse climate change, there are choices we can make that do make significant contributions to not making things worse.

We make individual decisions about our lives that have big consequences. While making a few changes in how we daily use energy can have some small effect, it is the things we support by our beliefs that can be making major contributions to making the climate worse. To stop that, we need to change those beliefs so that we don't keep enabling the pollution.

Perhaps the first challenge is to start thinking globally in why we need to make changes to our lives. There are many people who are starving, hungry and without adequate shelter in the world. If we are to truly change the world for the better, all people in the world must be able to have a comfortable life. Our privileged countries have been relying upon the oppression of most of the world's people for that privilege. That must change, otherwise those displaced by climate change and oppression will continue to come to our shores, and in far greater numbers as things get worse.

We have been pretending that we don't need to be worried about what happens to other people in the world, and we have had much propaganda from psychopaths that we should treat them with distain and prevent them from destroying our privilege. Continuing to believe such propaganda will not protect us unless we decide that we need to all be in on the task to make the world better, and that no one should be excluded.

We have been persuaded that we need to have a lot of material things in order to be happy. Not only that but that we need to do that ongoing. We are being persuaded to be conspicuous consumers, addicted to needing to buy the latest as if it is essential to our standing in society. Of course, none of that is really true, but that is the shallowness of the message that is making sure we support a lot of industries that really are not making us happy, as opposed to distracted, while they contribute to pollution.

The consequence of the pernicious addiction to the frivolous is that we need to have larger than necessary incomes to support the spending habits. The more we jettison of what is just not really making our lives better, the less we have to earn. Of course, that does not fit in with the prevailing economic philosophy that we require never-ending societal growth for our collective wellbeing. That is just propaganda by those who rely upon us being sucked into being good little consumers for their wealth aggrandisement. We can opt out of the consumerism and let them learn to live with it.

Part of the purpose of the consumerist propaganda is to persuade us to not be satisfied with our lives if we are not forever looking outside ourselves for our wellbeing. It is as if we are being persuaded that being extrovert is good for society, but many need our own space much of the time, yet feel pushed to have to be outgoing or risk being seen as anti-social. While humans are generally gregarious, that does not mean that we have to be outgoing rampant consumers. Learning to be satisfied within ourselves allows us to be more at peace with our lives and require less of society in general.

We are bombarded with advertisements from many organisations that are trying to make us believe that they are essential to our lives, yet it is more the other way around. Sporting and entertainment are two industries that rely upon us being rampant consumers. They promote elitism as a means of persuading us that we should just spend our money on them and not go out and do our own thing. Their only real interest in us is to keep their enormous money machine going, while they persuade governments to spend public funds on largely empty stadiums instead of useful public services.

We are persuaded to part with much of our income by traveling to somewhere other than where we are as if that will make us better understand the world. But that does not work if all we do is stay in hotels and be distracted from really being present in those places because we are busy taking photos of ourselves there to impress others by proving we were there, all while being pushed from one spending opportunity to another. Tourism severely distorts the lifestyles of those whose lives are inundated with self-absorbed people that really don't care about them.

Then there is the huge amount of pollution such frivolous self-indulgence entails, not only in the flying and other transport, but in the garish and lavish environments that are created purely to help people part with their money. It is all more of the shallow distraction that indulges selfishness and disregard for others, while requiring those others to tolerate such distain. We can learn to find worthwhile distractions in life without requiring such levels of pollution and expecting people to work for a pittance to pander to our selfishness.

We can make better choices about where we would like to work if we start disconnecting with the idea that the best places to work are those that are most successful at being ruthless. That is because they want to turn us into ruthless people, and it is much better for our sense of worth if we don't become that sort of person. The propaganda posits that such success is supposedly a win-win for the companies, their clients, their employees and society, but we only have to look at who is really making all the money and how much government spending supports that to know that there are few winners.

There is much that we can undo in our thinking and beliefs to disconnect from the wholesale support of industries that are driving us to extinction by making the planet uninhabitable for us. We must disbelieve the propaganda that hides us from seeing what the psychopaths and their supporters are really doing to our lives. We can live simpler lives without all the stress of hyped-up consumerism driving us to addiction. We can learn to entertain ourselves, and while we may not be up to the excessive standards of elites, we will feel like we have actually accomplished something for ourselves.

Collective effort

It is the societal choices we collectively make that are the major contributors to climate change.

At all levels of society, we are seemingly caught up in a huge race to be the best, whatever that may be, and part of that is the idea that the bigger it is the better. This eternal quest for aggrandisement has been at the root of rapid expansions of civilisation at the expense of most of those in them. Yes, many are supposedly better off, but not when compared to those at the top, who just happen to be the ones pushing for the aggrandisement. Is this all we are meant for? Just to be fodder for the transitory self-satisfaction of a few?

That posits most of the people in the world as being little more than slaves to the delusions of a few, caught up in their propaganda that somehow that is supposed to be fulfilling for us. Now, that cycle would just continue if it weren't that the planet cannot remain habitable for us if that aggrandisement is not curtailed. At this point it is worthwhile to ask whether there may be better things we could be doing, especially those that do not involve us in slow mass suicide.

This really brings us to why we are really here. There is no doubt we like to make things and learn about the world and what it has to offer, yet we are caught up in a mass belief that slaving to someone else's pet project is somehow the most worthwhile, and the more we cannot do our own thing is somehow better for society, as if denying ourselves such opportunities is a virtue. Much propaganda, including religious, implores that hard work is virtuous and that the more we do, the more we are set free.

Seems like that is a very big con, as we are not free by that route, but end up feeling more entrapped in a never-ending struggle to survive, buried under more stress as a few seem to be the only ones really free to decide what they want to do. However, it is the tolerating of that few being able to reach such high levels of aggrandisement and self-enriching that is preventing the rest of us really being able to do our own thing. A more equitable sharing of resources and time would allow most of us to be able to follow what interests us.

This then challenges us to think about how much does society need us to actually work to support it. There is so much that uses huge amounts of energy and resources to build, yet which largely gets unused for most of the day. Cars are parked in garages until used to drive to work, where they stay still in a car park while we go to a building that is vacant overnight. The roads driven on are barren overnight as are our homes during the day. Our bodies are generic multi-purpose machines that we can put to so many uses, all day long, but we cannot seem to learn its lessons in what we build.

Covid19 showed how we could learn to use our homes for many purposes, that we didn't need to travel to another space to work, and that we could still communicate with each other. We saw how much less we polluted when we did not do all that travelling. Some businesses saw how much less space they needed. However, many businesses did not like that we could be so self-sufficient and independent, and pushed for things to go back to where they could make money relying upon people having to travel and spend on the goods and services while they were away from their cheaper home environment.

Many were not used to the amount of time they had to spend in their own thoughts, which showed just how much people were used to the distractions that societies have incorporated into their fabric. Of course, much was done by the psychopaths to foment dissatisfaction with the situation so that they could push people to spend like they used to, making out that that is what is required for society to function. While much was made of the psychological effects of lockdowns, not much was done to help people actually take advantage of the opportunity to be less dependent upon material distractions.

We have allowed societies to be built around money as not only the means of supposedly improving ourselves, but as a goal in itself, as if just having more of it magically makes everything better without us having to change anything about ourselves. The only condition is that we spend money. This is another pyramid belief scheme that has at its core that if we stop believing in it, only disaster can result. That is what would happen if we did not plan for what we can do to mitigate against that.

Threat of collapse is not a good excuse to not try to change ourselves and society to be more useful for all of us than for the few. Addiction relies on the fear of making the changes that dispel the addiction. We have been persuaded that the addiction must continue, but that cannot work just because the planet cannot remain suitable for us if we continue. The longer we leave it before we face and deal with our addictions, the rougher it will be to do so.

Societies do not need all of us to be working most days of the week for all in the world to be living comfortable lives, but we must let go of the unsustainable perpetual aggrandisement that pits us against the planet. We must set our sights to be more realistic as to what we don't need for society to function. We can let go of a lot of activities that rely upon excessive resources of the planet and societies. Governments can be a lot more modest if they are not set up to be serving the aggrandisement of psychopaths, as people doing their own small things will not be consuming huge resources.

If we set our sights upon making societies allow all people to pursue their interests without bending the majority of resources to accommodate the whims of the few, we will be a much less stressful society, with more time to be together enjoying each other's company or even our own, without the excessive stress of being addicted to having to have money just to stay afloat. We can begin by thinking about what sort of politico-economic systems allow us to do that equitably, and how can we prevent hijacking of that equity by those who want amass resources to indulge themselves.

We don't have to have destructive societies, but we have to be clear about what we want them to be so that we can take steps to ensure they become and remain what serves us all. Then we might be in a better position to see ourselves as a varied humanity living as one nation on a habitable earth, secure in ourselves enough to tolerate differences in culture and beliefs.

Big differences

Big differences will occur in our climate footprint if we change our thinking and expectations of life.

Collectively, we use a lot of resources mostly designed for large-scale exploitation of our desires and aspirations, which have been fostered by advertising, and politicians lobbied to encourage, by wealthy people and their corporations for their own selfishness. Our individual choices support a whole lot of industries that mostly consume huge amount of resources and energy just to keep us distracted from really changing our living conditions for the better. By changing our thinking and expectations, we can undo a lot of the impulse to buy into consuming for its own sake.

We are being fed by fossil fuels industries with the idea that we only have to capture and store the greenhouse gases and we will still be able to continue to rely upon them. The whole problem with this is that it is a delusion as the current stage of development of them has not really proved viable at a small scale, let alone at the huge scale required to deal with our current and future emissions. And getting that in the time required is impossible. The reality is that no current or future technology will solve the crisis. Only substantially reducing our worldwide emissions will do that.

Some possible changes to make, individually and collectively, in increasing value to our well-being, are:

Use cars less
Societies are based arounds cars, largely due to car-maker advertising pushing that they allow us freedom. However, cars require lots of mainly empty roads, and spend most of their time in garages or car parks, leading to a plethora of asphalt and concrete, both of which are significant resource users and polluters in their making and use. Reducing the amount of unnecessary travelling can save in running costs and even eliminate use of some cars. Just because a resource is available doesn't mean is has to be used.
Use public transport
Transport vehicles get a lot of daily usage, giving low build resource cost per distance, and they move more people and so use less road space per person. Often public transport is the most efficient way to get to city centres due to traffic congestion.
Use local shops
We have seen a huge increase in large shopping malls as ever-expanding corporations want to increase their income, but resulting in further distances for most to travel. The closer shopping is to home, the less the need to use a car, significantly reducing pollution and vehicle wear, perhaps even bypassing the need for extra family vehicles.
Work from home
Using the one space for living and working increases the utilisation of the home, and eliminates a lot of travel, significantly reducing pollution and perhaps even eliminating the need for a vehicle, reducing the need to earn as much. Less people going to another place to work significantly reduces the need for offices and car parks, leading to much reduced use of concrete and steels, and thus less pollution and resources use.
Consume less
Buying less things and using them for longer reduces the need for income, and lowers resource use. Listen less to advertising that is trying to make us think we should not be content with our lives or cannot impress others without what they offer. Living will cost a lot less. Consuming less goods also results in less transport usage.
Work less
If making choices that result in less income being needed, then instead of finding things to spend the saved money on, better to work less, leading to less stress due to not having to fulfil other people's agendas, most of which are for their own self-aggrandisement and bolstering their selfish lifestyles and not our well-being.
Don't believe the hype
We don't need ever-expanding markets for humanity to survive. That is hype put out by those who want ever-increasing wealth, which has got us to close to cooking ourselves in the climate and gross wealth-inequality. We can find environmentally-friendly and more-equitable ways to make our societies work. It just takes us to be open to changing what we really expect from life, without all the glamours we are constantly showered with.
Search for peace within
It suits the consumerism machine to have us constantly searching outside of ourselves for satisfaction. However, if we search within for what we really need, we can unhook from the hype constantly thrown at us to make us addicted, and find more peaceful, less resource-using and more-enduring ways to feel good about our lives. We can live comfortable lives if we control our desires, and those are reduced when we learn to be at peace with ourselves.
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