According to the World Wildlife Fund Denmark is in the top 5 countries consuming the most of Earth’s natural resources compared to the amount of renewable resources used. [Link]
This is the initial lyrics of a Danish song praising the Danish summer. Directly translated it goes something like:
Danish summer, I love you, though you often have betrayed me.
Despite its age (the text is from 1923), the weather doesn’t seem to have changed during the years; still we see days of clear skies and sunshine followed by days of cloudy weather and rain. Especially the latter has been the case this year, but unlike many Danes who flees to southern climes – or wish they did – I am, if not enjoying, then appreciating the rainy weather. After a couple of months in one of the driest parts on earth, I have understood how important and life-giving the drops from heaven are. Not that I do not enjoy and prefer sunshine – alas I do – I just find it difficult to complain about the blessing of a resource that large parts of the world’s population are in deep scarcity of. Of course rain can also have a damaging effect causing flooding, but in Denmark it has largely been pouring silently (and peacefully) down (save one day in the beginning of July when a cloudburst hit Copenhagen and large parts of Sealand causing several damages and one fatality).
Dear Danes, please don’t hate the Danish summer weather too much. Rain is life-giving and without it you wouldn’t have the lush green scenery outside your window, clean drinking water in your tap or fresh vegetables in the garden. Instead you can pray that others will likewise be blessed by the invigorating drops from above.
I’m currently reading Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning by George Monbiot and on page 55 -I’m far from comforted.
Monbiot has published many books on politics, travel and environment. His work on environmental issues includes; Heat: how to stop the planet burning; The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain; he’s also a blogger at the Guardian. In 1995 he was awarded the United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement presented to him by Nelson Mandela.
Heat claims to hold the key strategies to finding the politically effective means of both cutting our energy use and reducing its carbon content. I’ve come across a powerful statement and a somewhat obscene suggestion in our global consumerism ridden society, which gave me the title for this post.
Monbiot rightfully claims: ‘The market created by carbon rationing will automatically stimulate demand for low-carbon technologies, such as public transport and renewable energy.”
This is nothing like the carbon market currently in place for industries, in fact it is for you and me and our friends, family and neighbors. The average person’s consumption in a country has to do with their standard of living and almost very little, to nothing, to do with the GDP. I’m certain many will disagrees, but how come when we calculated our footprints in my Environmental Politics class at the American University in Cairo, did the average student get 8 tons per year?
Perhaps what we need to do now is put a strict limit on how much Carbon an individual can emit per year. We did cover this in our DEMENA course last March, but Monbiot suggests we calculate this tackling only electricity consumption and transportation. As in, these two factors can determine if someone is above their limit or not, and similar to the carbon market in place now, people can buy and sell their credits in a carbon brokerage.
Some people will afford to buy (endlessly?) and thus emit (endlessly!). Though, really, how many of these can we have at such a time in history when the economy is in the toilet and political instability isn’t confined to one or two regions anymore. Unfortunately, for the same reasons perhaps, optimism is futile when lobbying for such measures at such times.
I’m eager and desperate to learn about the practical solutions that can be lobbied here in Egypt, as in England – Monbiot claims his solutions will work anywhere – and I hope he’ll deliver them somewhere around page 60!