In previous post I talked about writing about an idea, an idea to start a movement. I suggested a very simple aim: To leave the world in a better state than we found it.
This is an environmental challenge but it is also a socio-economic one too. It's about a sustainable and equitable world. More and more wealth is being concentrated in a decreasing proportion of the population. A little bit of research shows that in 2018 there were over 2,000 billionaires worldwide. That was an increase of 40% in a 5 year period. But that's not the only significant figure. The wealthy saw their wealth grow at a staggering rate. Elon Musk, for example, added over $120 billion to his fortune in 2021 alone.
Clearly our economic systems are skewed and it might be time we asked whether billionaires ought to exist at all in an equitable economic landscape. But money and wealth are not the only problem. The burden of government policy also has a role to play as do some parts of the media. Much of our (UK) recent government policies have disproportionally impacted the poorer parts of our communities. One simple example is that if you're not earning enough to pay income tax, then either raising the threshold for paying tax or lowering the rate of tax (particularly at the high end) doesn't benefit you at all. Whereas rating the levels of VAT or duty does.
So something needs to change and we may need to be willing to pay more in order to make those changes. Of course some parts of the media will always present ideas that seek to bring about such change as a danger to the very fabric of our lifestyles. But the bottom line is that if we are going to make the sort of wholesale changes that are needed to avert the climate emergency and create a more sustainable and equitable future, it has to be properly funded and the rich are going to have to pay their share.
Having said all of that, what might this movement look like? Here are some thoughts.
What is the core idea?
To harness and leverage the skills, knowledge and influence of the “retired” generation to campaign and work to leave the planet in a better place than when we inherited it. Working together we add our collective voice to those of the younger generation to encourage, and support their efforts to bring about a more sustainable and equitable world.
In no apparent order, here are some ideas:
- Encourage personal change
We can’t change the world as individuals and yet we can’t wait for someone else to charge it for us. The change begins with us. If we make small, individual changes (fly less often, choose a hybrid or electric car, lower the thermostat etc) we can contribute to a collective movement for change.
- Be trendsetters and let others follow
- Challenge business and government to be bold
- Invest ethically and environmentally
- Learn to repair and recycle stuff (I saved us over £300 by repairing a Kenwood Chef mixer!)
- Develop a course if you have skills to pass on.
- Become better informed about climate science, economics, alternative energy.
- Change one product you purchase regularly for a sustainable alternative.
- Arrange web based seminars on topics like climate, finance etc.
- Find resources to help inform/act/change
- Build community based action groups
- Engage with environmentally positive business/projects. Eg wind farms, solar farms.
Can this happen? It can if we make the effort.