We face not one but three simultaneous inter-connected crises: the COVID-19 Emergency, the Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, and the Crisis of Capitalism. We urgently need connected constructive responses.
When you recall the movie When Harry Met Sally, your horny mind probably goes straight the scene in the delicatessen, and “I’ll have what she’s having”. Setting that aside, it took Harry and Sally a long time before they realized that they were natural partners. In my version of the story, Harry is the climate and biodiversity action movement and Sally is the COVID-19 community response movement. For each, the movement includes a wide mix of people, organizations, scientists, health workers, artists, businesses, banks and governments who have realized the urgency of their respective crises. Ideally I need a third character to represent the new economics movement, but since there was no suggestion of polyamory in the movie, I’ll settle for tradition. It would make for a great sequel, however.
The Mint Magazine despatches Guy Dauncey to Switzerland, a decade into the future, to report on the global summit.
It was pouring when we arrived in Davos. The local news channels were full of complaints about how useless the artificial snow-machines were in the rain. Everyone knew the continuing climate crisis was to blame. Their glum expressions said it all.
When the invitation arrived for The Mint to send a journalist I volunteered because I wanted to see how my Tesla Raven Model 5 would manage the 1,000 km, 12-hour journey on just one recharge, ride-sharing with three others. Success. We arrived with 154 km still in the battery.
How can I describe the mood among the delegates? The world had entered the final year of the 2020s, and the steady reduction in global emissions along with the full-on engagement by China and India made many people feel optimistic. But the ongoing litany of disasters, including the massive flooding in Holland and the forest fires in the Amazon, made most still feel fearful.
How can we stay strong during this crisis? With love, careful planning, and care for others – and total lockdown.
The end of the tunnel may be a long way off, but if we treat it with the utmost seriousness, keep our social distance, wash our hands regularly, and look out for each other, we can stop the spread of the virus and reach the light at the end. When we emerge, huge numbers of people will hopefully want a more caring, cooperative approach to life, and a new kind of economy, based less on greed, selfishness and the destruction of Nature, and more on the economics of kindness.
A video of Guy Dauncey presenting a brief summary of this paper is here.
“This is a practical, down to earth concrete step by step transition strategy for the Canadian government to get real about the climate emergency. A must read for all Canadians to make a difference and communicate to their elected officials new policies and programs that will make a difference now.” – Professor Ann Dale, Trudeau Fellow Alumna, Canada Research Chair, Royal Roads University
“This is vital reading. It maps out an evidence-based route ahead; to open real conversations around what we actually need to do in these testing times. It should be read by politicians and policymakers, local and regional councillors, business front-runners, university and health service delivery managers, indeed everyone who wants to explore how we can collectively build the new zero carbon world we so urgently need.” – Paul Allen, Project Coordinator, Zero Carbon Britain project at the Centre for Alternative Technology
“Visionary and thorough, Dauncey’s 26 week Transition Program deserves close scrutiny in Canada and beyond. His passion for a clean economy shines.” – Raffi Cavoukian, C.M., O.B.C., singer, founder of Raffi Foundation For Child Honouring
Guy Dauncey is founder of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, co-founder of the Victoria Car Share Cooperative, and the author or co-author of ten books, including The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming and Journey to the Future: A Better World Is Possible. He is currently completing The Economics of Kindness: A Ten-Year Transition to a Green Cooperative Economy. He lives in Yellow Point, on Vancouver Island, Canada. His website is www.thepracticalutopian.ca.
I premise my analysis on five statements:
The climate emergency is real.
The ecological emergency is real.
The inequality, household debt and affordable housing crises are real.
A new global financial crisis is lurking, caused by excessive corporate and private debt and banking deregulation.
We need a ten-year mobilization to achieve a rapid transition to a green cooperative economy that is human-friendly, community-friendly, climate-friendly and nature-friendly, leaving self-interested capitalism behind us.
I have captured the possibility of an agro-ecological future and compared it to the current reality in these two diagrams. They are too big to display, so click on each phrase below to see the full diagrams:
How can we turn around the world’s financial institutions so that their creation of money serves to construct a new ecological civilization, rather than destroy our current civilization through the financing of ecological and climate catastrophe? It’s a massive problem that needs multiple solutions.
Before we turn our attention to some possible solutions, we need some context. Global GDP in 2018 was $87.5 trillion. Global debt, created by the world’s financial institutions, was $247 trillion, growing by $14 trillion a year. Between 2005 and 2016 the debt increased by 73%, split between governments ($63 trillion), non-financial corporations ($68 trillion) and private households ($44 trillion).
What does it mean to be so worried, because you really can’t afford the rent? To have to surrender your hope of ever owning a home? To face the end of a rental lease and know that there is NOTHING out there that you can afford? To stare homelessness in the face?
Many of us are comfortably housed, but many are not. The autumn rains have arrived, and the harvest crops are being gathered in. Everyone seems to be getting on with their lives. And yet for many people, the smiles and kindnesses that make life worth living mask a level of stress and worry that should have no place in our community.
How can it be that in this Cowichan Valley that we love so much, there is such a housing crisis? How can democracy, the housing market, and local government have failed us so completely?