Hamlet’s Ode to the 21st Century

To grow, or not to grow: that is the question,

Whether ’tis nobler on Earth to suffer

The filth and waste of outrageous production

Or to take arms against a toxic sea of troubles,

and by opposing, end them? To breathe, to pause;

To look anew; and by this pause to say we end

The heart-ache and ten thousand unnatural shocks

That Earth is heir to, ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To breathe, to pause;

To pause; perchance to dream: aye, there’s the hope;

For in that breath of hope what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this monstrous myth,

Must give us pause. For there’s the nub

That makes a dread of so much hope;

For who would bear the poisons and foul stench of “growth”,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud industrialist’s contumely,

The pangs of Gaia’s wounds, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurns

That Nature so unworthily takes,

When we ourselves might Earth-love make

With a bare choice? Who would sorrows bear

To choke and die a cancerous life,

But that the dread of life without the car,

The undiscovered country in whose bourn

Our dreams might live, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have,

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus dross materialism makes cowards of us all;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of greed,

And enterprises far beyond the goals of “more!”

And “more!” with this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.

Guy Dauncey

With apologies to Will Shakespeare

If you wish to understand the true impact of steady annual economic and material growth, I recommend LESS IS MORE: How Degrowth Will Save the World, by Jason Hickel. Published in 2021. Order in all good bookshops, or Amazon.

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