Two books I’ve read recently have made an incredible impact on me. The intention of this post is to share the ideas I found in those books — This Could Be Our Future by Yancey Strickler and Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard — and to hopefully continue to build momentum toward change.
At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be gone, too. The country (planet) will remain. What kind of country (planet) will it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live? These are the only questions that matter.
— Yancey Strickler
The lessons? It’s not all about financial maximisation. Perpetual growth on a finite planet has only one outcome: destruction, depletion… ruin. We have a responsibility to consider the environment, future generations, and other people who will be impacted by our decisions. Capitalism doesn’t work, at least not in its current form. Too much emphasis is being placed on profit, and growth, leaving a trail of destruction behind that the earth may never be able to recover from.
The root of the problem is that neither government nor business uses full-cost accounting in its use of resources. In fact, the government’s indicator for the health of the economy is the GDP (gross domestic product), which measures the economic health of a nation by the value of the quantity of goods produced, not by the cleanliness and availability of air and water, the health of soil, the biodiversity of ecosystems, or the temperature of oceans — the elements that support and sustain the natural resources necessary to build products these corporations sell.
— Yvon Chouinard.
Yancey Strickler is right, there is a movement coming. There is a groundswell of discontent, particularly from the young. And rightly so. People all over the world can see that the status quo isn’t working and needs to change. Who wants their children and grandchildren to live in a world we’re careering towards? Certainly not me. So tough decisions need to be made and actions taken.
“There is no business to be done on a dead planet” — David Brower
Each book (and the follow-up material like Yancey Strickler’s blog), has forced me to become more aware of my actions and the impact they have on the world around me. The thought of throwing anything away that could be repaired makes me a little sick in the stomach now. I’m repairing things that I would have normally thrown away — clothes, toys, a punctured paddling pool — because repair is a radical act. I’m refusing to buy things with unnecessary packaging, or not buying stuff at all. I’m contributing to causes that are trying to fix these problems.
I don’t write this to boast, but to share. The ideas and examples I’ve come across in these books have impacted me, and seem to be sticking. So I want to share them with others, to spread the word. The more aware people become, of the message and their actions, the more impact we can make. Just imagine the message we could send to governments and large corporations if the movement snowballed; they would soon realise we’re not putting up with it anymore.
I highly recommend these books if you’re even vaguely interested in the topics.