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Climate change can be slowed down. Start detoxing today.

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We live in a capitalist society. Because of capitalism we can eat very affordable bread everywhere in the world. You and I can visit a supermarket and buy whatever we want. Capitalism brings competition which in theory will do two things: “the best quality and the best price for the consumer”. In a capitalist society the consumer is king. Whether this is true or false is not the question in this blog. I will try to provoke a bit by pointing out how capitalism made you addicted to comfort. And how this resulting behaviour accelerates global warming and climate change.

Capitalism is a system humans created. So therefor we are as well capable of creating a more ecological sustainable system that serves us all and tackles the velocity of climate change – but more important – tackles the long term effects.

Watch this video for an extended, thoughtful and educational view on climate change and global warming. It is 15 minutes of your free time but it will make you rethink some important questions and choices you make every day.

Nature a holiday dream destination

What do a lot of people (with kids) in the Netherlands do on their summer holiday break? They drive on average 1000 km south to sit in a tent for three weeks and explore the surroundings. And accidentally the places they camp are in nature. Why? It puts the rat race on hold for some time of tranquillity and peace. And nature provides the best surroundings to recharge the soul and to regain trust in new or old dreams. In order to keep this tradition alive it is not a bad thing to reconsider climate change once or twice. And reflect on your own behaviour and contribution to the problem and what you can do to make nature thrive. 

This is why you and I love nature. And why we need to protect it against our own created imagined order: Capitalism. 

Global warming vs climate change.

Thousands of scientists agree today that rising temperatures on earth are due to human activity (behaviour). 

Do you know climate change in the long run causes famine, starvation, mass migration and war?

Global warming is an average rise of global temperatures and climate change is among others an effect of global warming. Which means our climate changes because of rising temperatures. Global warming is not a new thing. But what is new is the exponential increase of heating up because of human activities. Scientists can measure the amount of CO2  captured in ice and compare them with current CO2 emissions derived from burning fossil fuels in our atmosphere. And due to this ability we now know humans are responsible for heating up the planet. More specific we burn coal, oil and gas. And of course we have a big load of cattle shit participating by spreading methane gases in the atmosphere. Which speeds up the process. The so called Greenhouse Gases. 

A broad accepted conclusion among environmental, ecological, zoological and many other scientists nowadays is that we are for at least 95% responsible for the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. Collected in the last 4 decades and concluded by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This happened only in the last 4 decades. Which is insane if you compare this with the earth’s cosmological age  of 4.5 billion years. What will happen if we don’t act and change our fossil fuel habits within the next 4 decades? 

Why are humans the biggest cause of global warming?

The energy you consume. The new bike you want. Plastics you buy. The cheese you eat. Car you drive. The heating for your home you love. Animals you eat. The flights you take. A new Ipad or Iphone you buy. The oven you use, fridge you have. The NIKE’s you wear and the clothes you purchase; they all need to be manufactured. And you need for this one general thing. Heat. And this heat or energy comes from burning fossil fuels. Coal, oil and gas. And within this process carbon dioxide is a rest product. Better known as CO2 (or greenhouse gases) And those CO2’s absorb heat and that’s a reason our atmosphere is heating up by human activity and why human activity is the biggest contributor of global warming. And therefor climate change. By human activity I mean you and I. 

Which industries emit the most carbon dioxides and contribute the most to climate change.

Which industries cause the most CO2 emissions? If you like to change your behaviour it is important to know where your influence is.

  1. Energy production;
  2. Agriculture, forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU);
  3. Industry;
  4. Transport;
  5. Residential, commercial and institutional sectors.

Although aviation is only responsible for 11% of the transport sector CO2 emissions it doesn’t mean flying is not too bad. Because flying increases exponentially. That is also due to political choices (no VAT on kerosine and related aviation businesses). Every country needs an airport. Because it does three things. Status, mobility and economic growth. For example it supports the tourism sector (economic growth)  which is for most countries the number 1 source of income.

Never forget the wealth we grew up in is a cumulative process of imperialism and colonialism. So pointing the finger at not western countries to ecologically behave better is a hypocrite demand. Because they lack the high comfort luxurious lifestyle western life have created for itself and protect so hard. 

Just like Modi – president of India – pointed out very clear:

“All you westerners and your kind words. I will take global warming into consideration the day my people enjoy the same standards of your living”

Watch the movie at the beginning of this blog about climate change and you will find Modi at 12.45 minutes pointing out this western moral double standard.

Country Overshoot Day

For a sustainable economy you need to be aware and take into consideration that earth needs to recover from the massive overexploitation humans cause. Also explained in the doughnut economy by Kate Rayworth and expressed in the concept of : Earth Overshoot Day.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2019 the date is set on 29 july 2019. The earliest ever.

Does this seem sustainable to you? I am Dutch and if everybody on this planet lived like the  Dutch currently dothe date would be even earlier: 4 may 2019.

Do you know continuously economic growth doesn’t exist? Due to the fact there are limited resources on earth. This is also true for continuously consuming. 

Detox time for climate change: 3 behavioral changes that make a hugh difference.

Do you like reading so far? Or does it make you feel uncomfortable? For me it is the latter. But feeling uncomfortable is never a reason to look away.

This is the detox part and the solution part of this blog. It is about where you and I have influence on climate change. You don’t want to hear the following I am going to say. But you are addicted to comfort and because you are addicted to comfort you are addicted to energy as well. As I mentioned before, the reason you are addicted to comfort is the nature of the capitalist system. There is no sales without addiction..

Nothing is wrong with comfort. I like comfort too. But you are nursered and conditioned – if you are 40 years or younger – that what you want; you can have it now! Capitalism created the comfort economy on a 24/7 base (think about all the energy necessary to facilitate the comfort economy) with only one goal: to make you an addict to comfort. And now you are a consumer who is a comfort addict and suffers from ‘comfordiction’. It is actually a very powerful business strategy. Imagine yourself losing comfort in your daily day-to-day life. What would be your first emotional and physical reaction to losing comfort?  Did you prepare yourself a ‘Trainspotting’ bedroom?

Detox 1: Buy less stuff

We are all addicts. That is why we buy stuff.  You purchase a lot of stuff to establish comfort. For example you buy Ipads, Iphones, dishwashers, sonos sound systems, laptops, playstations, you rebuild your kitchen, bathroom, even an extension or remodelling of your living room, you purchase lifestyle accessories and a lot of clothes. You buy experiences as well. You live only once right? 

I can continue this list forever but I won’t. The thing is for every item you buy you give your money to one of those industries who emit the most CO2. You can perceive spending money on something as voting for something; you express your support. 

But ask yourself: “Do I really need all that stuff?” Do you become a genuine happier person with your new products? I must admit I do get very happy and excited if there is a dishwasher and washing machine part of the household inventory. Within our lifestyle we occasionally bump into a household without a dishwasher and this makes me realize a dishwasher is a very very very convenient product. But we also adapt very fast. So we wash the dishes by hand. Just like people at their summer holiday break. 

Spending money on something means voting for that something. So put your money where it makes a difference for a sustainable future.

One powerful skill of humans is adaptation. You deal with what you have. This also applies on having or not having certain stuff around you. 

In fact, having less stuff will elaborate your way of living because it creates space and time. And you can explore other kind of things that make you really happy. To meet friends. Have a good conversation. Do something nice for someone else. Learn to cook really good vegetarian/vegan food, learn a new language or read a book. Or learn to play music.

Detox 2: Fly Less

Actually this is the easiest one. Just don’t fly. Instead take the train. Every now and then a response to my “fly less speech” is: Didn’t you make a world trip for two years? The only legit answer to this is: Yes, i did. But this is not an excuse not to be open for change or new knowledge. At that time I didn’t have the knowledge I acquired today. And I wasn’t aware of me doing any harm to the climate. On the contrary; I was very proud we did as much overland border crossings we possibly could.

But now – with the gathered climate change knowledge – I can’t justify to take a plane just for my own benefits anymore. If you suck up all the information and knowledge it is pretty ignorant to continue flying the way most of us still do. Why not take the train and go on a deserved weekend break a bit closer. 

Did you know the combustion rate – fuel per second – of an airplane is 4:1. For every second you are up in the air the plane burns 4 liter of kerosine. 

Detox 3: Delete meat from your menu

There are many, many reasons why you should stop eating meat. People who eat less or no meat live longer, are slimmer than their carnivor peers, are healthier, and they have a reduced chance of getting numerous diseases including cancer and heart diseases.  To help to slow down climate change the best thing you could do is stop eating meat.

Some important reasons to stop eating meat:

  • We need a lot of land to cultivate our livestock. We need 164 m2 year of land use to produce 100 grams of protein. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as settlements and semi-natural habitats such as arable fields, pastures (land for livestock to graze), and managed woods.
  • Raising animals for human consumption accounts for approximately 40% of the total amount of agricultural output in industrialized countries. Grazing occupies 26% of the earth’s ice-free terrestrial surface, and feed crop production uses about one third of all arable land. 
  • We use a lot of water for the production of meat. We only have access to 2,5% of the fresh water on the globe. And only 1% is within human reach.  It takes 15,977 m³ water to produce 1000 kg of beef. Obviously this an average. A male weights more or less 1100 kg and a female 700 kg.
  • All this livestock drop a lot of shit. And those methane gases are far more lethal to increasing temperatures compared to CO2. 86 times worse to be  more specific.
  • What to think about all the energy needed for transportation and packaging? CO2 emissions all over the place.
  • Species equality. Why are humans better than other living species? Religion put humans on top of the food chain (source – Homo Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari), even out of the chain. We can rewrite that narrative. And start telling ourselves and our children about species equality. Imagine your sister, daughter or mother kept pregnant all her life to be able to produce milk. Kids are taken away. Boys are grown to 36 weeks to be killed. Very efficiently growing. The amount of necessary energy is just sufficient to cultivate the most euros per kilogram meat. And girls have the same destiny as the mother. And are killed if they are not productive anymore in terms of profit. This keeps on going forever. And why. Because you want dairy and meat. 

If you like to read more about the environmental impact of meat production? Read further on Wikipedia.

Final thought

To stop climate change is about framing a new narrative. And this is where you pop up. We live in democratic societies. Vote for parties who don’t support old industrial dogma’s in how to rule the world. Let’s create new believes, species equality and sustainability based systems. Which citizen doesn’t agree with a sustainable, ecological healthy and prosperous country? Where your kids and grandkids can play outside, live and build their dreams and live in equality and peace with all life forms. It comes down to setting ambitious goals. And you can participate by using your money and your vote as a strong vote for change.

“Because if we don’t act now our beautiful planet will change forever and human life could extinct much more rapid than it will do anyway.*” 

* “A short history of nearly everything” – Bill Bryson.

I hope to activate some discomfort and make you rethink some of the choices you subconsciously make every day. I hope I did make you realize how a little change of mind and money can have a huge positive impact on the liveability and quality of life on earth. 

So we can enjoy Planet Earth the way we remember this is in BBC’s well known voice over.

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One reply on “Climate change can be slowed down. Start detoxing today.”

Thank you for the insightful article! I have to agree on all of you points and am struggling (yet, maybe not perfectly) to keep up my hope for the species and the planet. <3

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