On Friday (March 15th), thousands of students worldwide took to the streets so that our generation, their parents’ generation, finally do something about climate change. So that we finally realize that we are perhaps in the most dramatic crisis of our civilization. Maybe it’s even the beginning of the end of our civilization? As I was thinking about going with my 2 ½-year-old daughter to Heldenplatz to join in the demonstration, it became clear to me how complicated this topic is for all of us. On Monday, I flew to Dubai to give a presentation. On Thursday I flew back, have a flight to Frankfurt next week for a meeting and booked a trip to France in August.
Our society needs new game rules
So, am I a hypocrite who wants to feel better by having purchased a Tesla Model 3? Who believes that by purchasing it I can do something against climate change? Obviously, I bought the Tesla in order to get away from my Toyota Hilux diesel automobile, and at borisgloger we will be focusing on sustainability over the next few years. We will make our company climate neutral, at least on paper, through CO2-compensation. But is that enough? Is it enough that I do very little myself? No! Our society needs new game rules. Just like Greta Thunberg says in her talk. We as a society need to concede that our current economy not only destroys our climate, but also endangers our livelihoods and above all our children. We need to concede that capitalism, and here I mean the current financial capitalism, harms all of us. It might be that one or the other within this branch is moved (see “An open letter to Greta Thunberg from a Gen-X investment banker”). But precisely this way of doing business, relying on the free market à la Friedmann, is exactly what is not only destroying our climate, but also our democracy, as Robert Kuttner carefully (and tediously) explains in “Can Democracy Survive in Global Capitalism” (here is a video about the book). (1)
Without climate-friendly politics, we won’t get far
We need politicians who understand that they are the only one who can establish the framework conditions. In Germany, we ultimately need politicians that will get working on this. Who don’t continually use the refugee crisis as a diversion and instead are ready to cut the Gordian knot. Who will make Germany and Europe fit for the future by putting massive investments into the infrastructure of our country (and raise the GDP with it), and at the same time make large investments in education and schools so that people like Linda Cliatt Wayman do not need to rescue schools that are no longer serving their purpose. We need massive investments in renewable energy sources and an immediate end to coal usage without paying out the companies, and and and. We need to concede that we must protect our children and offer them a future where they will see insects and birds flying and have forests to walk through. We need a society in which children are not drilled on just surviving, but one in which we use their impulses to enrich our lives.
The fairy tale about the power of the individual
I can already hear the comments: “Gloger – he has a Tesla and flies all over the place. He does nothing himself, the politicians should sort it.” But like I said, I am looking for ways to improve. It is a lie when the industries and those in power continually tell us that we are the ones that must do something, we must change, we must … The food industry tells us to “Move more, eat less!”, while at the same time stuffs us full with diabetes-causing sugar. The petroleum industry says we need oil and airplanes, but we should all dutifully compensate our CO2 consumption. Retail says “Don’t use plastic bags!”, but packs every cucumber, tomato and strawberry in plastic. Naturally, we can all become more aware, but that isn’t enough. It’s only a diversion so that a few billionaires can become even wealthier. The EZB (European Central Bank) keeps the interest rate at 0 percent and purchases bonds without end. Who gets all that money? It doesn’t come to us, it goes to the super rich. We are placated with a few Euros of child benefits or have our pensions secured. But we spend this on consumption, that goes where? To the powerful. Because the money for these expenditures comes from tax revenues and from debts which must be paid by whom? Our children, who must one day pay back these debts or raise taxes to cover our pensions.
Greta is right – we must make fundamental changes.
- Discussed in the New York Times