Last Sunday, and yesterday, I planned to go tree planting to give XR a positive image. Both were cancelled – by extreme weather. Moral: is it too late already?
I have just looked on the internet for XR Brazil, and XR China. I confess surprise that there appears to be a presence (but not an address) in Sao Paulo, and even a pic of a demo outside an office with a Portuguese name plate, but the main pic was in London. China? Nothing. Does anyone remember Chico Mendes? If that XR pic really was in Bolsonaro’s Brazil, activists can have no illusions as to the risks they are taking.
Although Australia – the electorate, not just the individuals they elected –should not have been surprised by the ecosphere’s response to their unsustainable behaviour, it wasn’t actually their fault. Australia is only responsible for 1.3% of CO2 emissions. Mind you, that doesn’t include emissions from the coal exported.
Amazingly far reaching as XR’s publicity has been already, neither they nor Greta Thunberg are yet making any dent in the processes, not just CO2 emissions leading us to the Tragedy of the Commons. Bringing ‘business as usual’ to a standstill can only take us so far. Taking CO2 out of the atmosphere even by natural means such as trees (not carbon capture!) is pathetic unless on a much vaster scale than seems possible, never mind likely.
Kate Raworth suggests a Doughnut (so much economic activity, but not too much), but I don’t see various COPs making much progress yet. If we don’t, there will be a crisis anyway. But as long as ‘business as usual’ is expected to make a profit, those expecting to make profits will be as ruthless as they need to be, and the damage will continue.
Cleverer minds than mine, (not troubled by Asperger’s), have not yet though of a way to downsize the world economy to what the ecosphere can cope with.
A basic income, even in one, preferably a technologically sophisticated country would make it possible for individuals within that country to decide what not to purchase. That would only have the necessary effect if clearly associated with a recognition of the necessity. I must repeat my caveat that if not tied to the eco-agenda, the basic income would create growth. At least XR has done some necessary groundwork on that score. A tax regime dependent on ecological footprints would be possible, where without a basic income it would cause hardship over which individuals had no control.).
Logically this should have two effects. A general ‘Buddhist’ ethos by individuals would give that country a trading advantage. Temporarily that country could go on producing unsustainable products that the rest of the world would purchase. Crucially, British steel for example could be competitive, or at least more competitive than now.
If this happens, this strategy would be adopted by other nations. This could cause a gradual world contraction in economic activity – everybody, everywhere buying not quite as much as they did. This is impossible without a basic income, but thinkable as an alternative to the Tragedy. (I would welcome help in getting my version of the Tragedy as a Wiki reference. Perhaps another blog post?)
This may not work, but I wish someone who dismisses it. who shares the worries of XR, would explain at which point they fault the reasoning. XR is active everywhere except where it matters most.