Just recently I viewed a debate on Climate-Change at the Swedish parliament – and I wonder, is it only me that can see the “Elephant in the room”?
Most of the debate was focusing on weather Sweden is doing enough or not, especially when it comes to fulfilling the climate-goals to reduce CO2-emissions etcetera set by the EU, and as in any political debate the different parties tried to gain “points” on the others.
There was even someone arguing that we already are among the best in the OECD when it comes to CO2-emissions and therefore, above all, need to cooperate internationally to persuade others to be better. But nobody even mentioned the Elephant…
But, what about the elephant?
If everybody in the world should live a lifestyle similar to the Swedish, we would need the resources of 3,5 earths to sustain it – if it instead should be American lifestyle we would need 4,2 earths – this is a fact, regardless if we win the “OECD-contest” or not! And regardless if “the stuff” we consume is produced in our own country or elsewhere.
Earth Overshoot Day!
In 2012 – August 22 was Earth Overshoot Day, marking the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. And for the “rest of the year” we are then operating in overdraft. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
For every day we avoid this issue, more and more people, in Sweden, and all around the world will continue to strive hard to reach and fulfil a “western” lifestyle including a resource utilization way higher than the earth can provide. And we are all doing it, widely cheered by governments and companies and according to the “golden rule” of infinite growth.
Of course, poor countries and people must have a chance to a better life, but if we all – the people – are going to survive on this planet, we need to redefine what a good life is.
A good life, which will allow all of us to live within the boundaries of our earth!
“Change has to start in the richest end of the chain!”
It is our “rich” lifestyle that serves as role model in all developing countries. A lifestyle that companies, movies, newspapers, internet and governments, all promote as “the desirable way of life!”
I remember a moment, in 2005, when I was stuck in heavy traffic for 35 minutes at Arc de Triomphe in Paris, together with a Chinese colleague. Referring to the traffic I asked him “Is this, what you want for your country?” He sat silent for a while and then he said “You are looking at it the wrong way. The real question is; are you refusing me this?”
If we seriously accepts that “all people are equal” – we need to do some serious adjustments! This adjustment is not only about saving some energy or changing the fuel for our cars – this is a lifestyle-change.
To change a lifestyle isn’t made over-night!
A lifestyle change, takes time/generations, so we have to start the journey now if we are to have a reasonable chance before it is too late.
Continuing with business-as-usual will not only make the inevitable change so much harder and create havoc in our society once it happens – it is also deeply unfair to our children and their children, because it will hit them the hardest!
Now, that we all know the elephant is there;