Who is really responsible for climate change
When a city is packed with policemen, you can bet you’ll find me drinking inside a city hall with the very people they are trying to protect. I love to “break in” to events, and I always find creative ways to do so, since nobody suspects a thing if you look adorable and you dress, talk and walk like the people around you.
Being interested in the environment and in the green transition, in 2017 I decided to sneak into the G7 Environment to hear what the biggest players in the world had to talk about behind closed doors. I specifically chose to attend a conference of entrepreneurs with the strongest transnational impact on the climate rather than listening to lengthy debates among mortal politicians. I consider national policies to be limited in confronting global threats.
A 30 second Google search found me the name of the organizational entity behind the G7, to which I sent my CV, and to which I got a response a day later. I received an enthusiastic call from the curators saying they needed exactly someone with my profile; they asked me if I could be their official interpreter and if I could coordinate the event. Now, mind you: I am an exceptional event coordinator, but I am certainly no interpreter. “Of course my dear, how exactly can I be of help”, I replied, as if I were the Freddie Mercury of interpreters.
The day of the event I had interesting conversations with the entrepreneurs, pretended to ignore the flirtatious advancements of an old Frenchman who was more worried about my phone number than the impact of his company on the future of humankind, drank some good wines and ate quinoa salad that tasted more expensive than it usually does. And then I had my moment of glory, when during his presentation an American speaker asked me how to say “Watermelon” in French, and I replied: “Pasteque”.
When the conference ended we had a laugh, and I left with an entire list of personal e-mails and contacts of the numerous speakers present that day, in case I would need to contact them in the future for some great idea to shake the world up.
The conference turned out to be like any other conference in the world: It was inconclusive, pricey for taxpayers, and the guest speakers were uninspired, uninspiring, and rarely ventured astray from the usual few banal ideas you would expect to hear at such an event.
However, listening to them, I finally found a confirmation to something I always suspected.
In 2017 there was a lot of buzz about Trump withdrawing the USA from the Paris agreements, but of all the nations present, no one gave a damn about the environment and the climate, with the exception of Canada, perhaps.
This is what I learnt, and what every person in the room agreed on at the end of the conference: Environmental impact is created by companies, but companies must produce profits in the short and long term because they are driven by profit, not by humanitarianism or charity. (Cit.) They argued that all major transitions in history have been financed by the state or the driving powers of that particular time, so if the world wants change, there are only two possible alternatives: The first solution is for the nations to agree to finance the fixed costs of the transition. The second is for the citizens of the world to shift global demand towards a greener consumption. In the second option, companies in search of income will be forced to meet the new needs of their consumers. As simple as that. You can blame strong powers or global dynamics you don’t have any control on, but the reality is that the key is in your hands. You have the power to vote for politicians who promise to invest in the green transition, or you can change your lifestyle and consumption habits to something more expensive, less comfortable and appealing but better for the environment. Where do you stand?
Before making a choice, ask yourself: “Is this the world I want to live in?”
You are not alone, your every gesture has consequences. You are a dot in a very intricate system. When my choice not to have a car and to move on foot or via public transport gets on my nerves, I ask myself: “Is this the world I want to live in?”
When I want a new dress because I have too few clothes and I am always dressed the same, I ask myself: “Is this the world I want to live in?”
When the bartender refuses to fill my water bottle and tells me to buy a new plastic one, I ask myself: “Is this the world I want to live in?”
I once met a guy who works in the financial services of the gambling industry. He seemed deeply ashamed to work in an industry that essentially ruins lives, but he justified himself by telling me that he had bills to pay. If added together, how big can the impact of all the working hours of each individual be in shaping our world?
Before voting, buying products, choosing a meal, embarking on a career, accepting compromises, or making any choice because you are cold, hungry, thirsty, in need of belonging, recognition, or acceptance, remember to ask yourself: “Is this the world I want to live in?”