Sunday, December 17, 2017

Context is for kings

Today I had my revenge at the gym. Last time around I almost got a heart attack but today I ran 5k in 24 minutes and 39 seconds. So if I now just run twice that distance in the same pace, I will be back where I was when doing fire-fighting as a 19 year old… But then I did not have two kids and a full-time job, so I guess context matters.

I remember that someone asked me if I was really afraid of climate change. I think an honest answer would be that it is a bit like with terrorism. That I am not too worried of it per se, but that I am worried about how we as a society may react to it. Already today, justified concern about climate change (combined with irrational fear of nuclear energy) is frustrating progress towards a more equal world as it is holding back crucial investments in energy infrastructure in developing countries. In the rich world, the exclusive focus on renewable energy is making electricity expensive and thereby preventing widespread electrification, leading to thousands of premature deaths from air pollution, not to mention vast ecological destruction caused by the burning of biomass.

From a utilitarian perspective, the real risk here is of course planetary entrapment. Fortunately, “degrowthers” are still very far from coming into power in any country but with a rising number of extreme weather events and rapid warming that may quickly change. Especially as many people already feel disoriented and unwanted due to the deepening inequality caused by decades of insufficient social investments.

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