Point of NO RETURN – a Sustainable perspective…

www.sorenandersson.com

…from Wikipedia;

“The ‘Point of No Return’ is the point beyond which one must continue on one’s current course of action because turning back is physically impossible…

The phrase originates from the flying industry, representing the distance where you no longer have enough fuel to return to your starting point.

But what if we know that continuing on the current course is a certain path to destruction…

…if we know that our current course of life is all but Sustainable?
Is it not that, with increased knowledge the phrase “Point of No Return” gets a “slightly” different importance – that we in this context definitely cannot “continue one´s current course of action” because that’s exactly what is “physically impossible”…?

and still – what is it that seemingly makes so many people rather opt for a future with unimaginable and extremely harsh consequences to our society and our planet rather than adjusting current behaviours to better accommodate a Sustainable lifestyle…

Is it only lack of knowledge or is it an inability or even unwillingness to understand the nature, the scale, the urgency and seriousness of the very real and unprecedented threat that we are facing?

Let’s take a look at two “phenomena” in our society – maybe you can help me figure out if we have reached the “Point of NO RETURN” on these…

Selfishness

www.sorenandersson.comDuring the last decades there has been column-kilometres written about “self-fulfilment”. Prize-winning authors, “lifestyle-gurus” and “career-coaches” have trained thousands of people to focus and invest in themselves, not forgetting widely spread advertisements such as “Because you’re worth it” from L’Oréal.

Just the other day I heard about a “lifestyle-coach”, who always told clients to test drive cars they cannot afford, attend sales viewings of unaffordable houses in the most expensive neighbourhoods and keep a close track on their “idols” through the tabloids. – Just to “create an imaginary self-image of what they can be if they aim high and do their best”…

The culture of “ME” is probably an invention by commercial interests playing on the theories of the “Maslow-pyramid”. maslows-hierarchy

“The Maslow theory requires a need at one level to be at least partially satisfied, before a need at higher levels of the hierarchy becomes important as control of our actions. When needs lower in the pyramid are partially satisfied, needs at the next level are awaken…

One commercial reason to promote a “ME-culture” is of course that it “drives” consumption – if you only need to focus on yourself and if this approach is also widely “accepted and acclaimed” and even promoted through books, articles, courses and “lifestyle-coaches” – purchase decisions, as well as other decisions are most certainly easier to make.

…but what about the consequences to our society, to other people and to our environment, who takes care of them…

Is this the world WE want – an exhausted society and environment filled with self-centred, egoistic individuals in an irrepressible pursuit of “What’s in it for me”…?

Some Points where we might have reached the “NO RETURN”…

  • Is it “really Macho” to drive a fossil fuel-guzzling car, a SUV or a “Muscle-car” – when you know that increasing CO2-emissions is the main driver of Climate Change and thereby rapidly is reducing the chances for our children to live a decent life…
  • Is it “really Attractive” continuously upgrading your wardrobe to fulfil what others decide is an “ideal” – when you know about the exploitation of people in the fashion-industry, child-labour and the enormous strain this “take-make-throwaway lifestyle” is putting on the scarce resources of our planet…
  • Is it “really High Status” to purchase and do things “just because you can” disregarding all the consequences it brings to Humanity and our Planet.
  • Is it “really Smart” to strive for ideals, often created by others and based on an infinite lifestyle that cannot be sustained with the finite resources of our planet…

…Is it “really Admirable” to live a Selfish life?

One thing that really strikes me, is that except for some of the very basic needs such as food, water and a place to live, very few of the “needs” in the Maslow pyramid need materialistic possessions…

Self-Entitlement …

Just recently there was a report clearly showing that wealthy people have a stronger tendency of self-entitlement – that just because having acquired monetary “advantages” they tend to believe that they should be given more “slack” to act freely in our society and should be treated more “respectfully”.

I suppose there is some psychological explanation to this behaviour, but isn’t it a bit strange, that “smart people” with a couple of more digits on their bank account actually believed that these digits should override democratic decisions and laws or even rules of nature?

That´s almost like saying that if you are a popular, esteemed and very high-paid football player you should be given some slack when it comes to paying taxes, just because… Lionel-Messi

Just the other day I read about the famous football player Lionel Messi, who allegedly has been involved in a scheme routing money through UK and Switzerland to tax havens in Uruguay and Belize using “anonymous companies”, to avoid paying more than €4.2 million in taxes… (Link to Article)

Using anonymous companies to hide your identity is a willful act, nothing accidental or circumstantial…

But it doesn’t only appear at that scale…

A couple of months back, at a party, I became involved in a discussion about cars. One of the other guests had recently bought a BMW X5 following his swap from a job in our local town to a well-paid job in a nearby city, 62 km away.

When I asked him why he was not using the public transportation, which is very frequent, fast and excellent on the actual route, and thereby reducing his emissions of CO2, his comment was;

“ – Since I do have to commute, at least I think I am entitled to commute comfortably and secure, which by my standards is equal to driving back and forth in my new car…”

…so becoming a “victim of his own choice” should automatically entitle him to a greater “allowance” of CO2-emissions…

I wonder if the atmosphere would agree that this guy’s “sacrifice” was worth the 26 times higher CO2-emissions, 7 times higher energy consumption, 25 times more particulate emissions, 73 times higher NOx-emissions and 77 times higher emissions of non-methane hydrocarbons (calculation: ecopassenger) – but hey, the atmosphere has no saying anyway…

…and later I overheard him complaining about the traffic-congestions at “rush-hour”…

Point of NO RETURN…

I am sure you can tell numerous more examples of Selfishness and Self-Entitlement from large contexts and from normal daily life – and maybe that’s where the problem starts – it has become “The Norm”…

There is NOTHING Admirable about living a Selfish or Self-Entitling life!

Regardless if it is about tax-evasive schemes, land grab-operations, exploitation of people or environment, regardless if it is at multinational corporate scale or your personal choice of transportation – there are consequences – Consequences that we cannot longer afford!

– Let’s stop the whitewash.

Once you know – there’s No excuse…

www.sorenandersson.com