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It is Sunday 8th November 2020. Joe Biden’s success in the American Election has been announced.   The writer’s paralysis I have experienced during the past few weeks is starting to heal.  Now, with some relief. I feel I can  share my thoughts and reflections of the past tense pre-election weeks.

Never before had I invested so much of my emotional energy in an election.   Whilst I look forward to the change with some cautious optimism, what a pity the present occupant of the White House has vowed that he is not going to leave without a challenge.   This position he has taken up despite the flimsiest of legal claims he can muster to justify retaining his present status.

Making Sense of Our Times

Going through my emails as a facilitator of TED Circles I have just come across this 8-minute video which I found inspiring, and I suggest you spend a little time watching it

Christiana Figueres is a Costa Rican diplomat who helped to promote the historic Paris Agreement of 2015. She eloquently describes the accelerating climate emergency. How this is the deciding decade to ensure that we do not condemn our children and their descendants to a world that is increasingly uninhabitable.

“We can, however,” she says, “cut our greenhouse gas emissions in half over the next 10 years ensuring our cities remain green, our supply of food remains stable and equitable living standards are generated throughout the world.”

“This ambition is daunting because we have procrastinated way too long. We now have one last chance to truly change course. It is the decisive decade in the history of humankind. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I am convinced of this truth.   If we continue on present path of carbon emissions, we condemn our children and their descendants to a planet unable to sustain their needs.    They will live in a world with exponentially growing levels of disease, famine, conflict, and irreversible ecosystem failures,” she continued

Fire Drill Fridays

Another woman with whom I can identify is Jane Fonda, who at the age of 82 has initiated Fire Drill Fridays.   Each week on Capitol Hill, Washington. Fonda demonstrates, together with a variety of activists, to pressurise the government to espouse legislation which will help to reduce carbon emissions.   “The climate crisis is not an isolated issue,” she says, “it involves every part of our economy and society.”

“Because of that, each weekly demonstration has a different focus. Scientists, movement leaders, experts, activists, Indigenous leaders, community members and youth come together to share their stories and demand that action be taken before it’s too late.”

Despite having been arrested for “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.” she has not curtailed her weekly demonstrations.

How happy I am that Joe Biden has confirmed that on the first day of his inauguration, he will bring America once more in compliance with the Paris Agreement.  (And, or course, that he is the president for All Americans.)

I do believe that  it is essential to limit carbon emissions right now.   Further delay will cause permanent damage to the earth’s atmosphere.   The use of oil, gas and coal for the production of power, needs to be rapidly replaced by solar and wind installations.

The Personal and the Political

I was personally challenged this week by a friend who had played a very positive role in my life last year. Whilst Johannes had during 2019 spoken out and supported me around some contentious personal issues, I had not been in touch with him this year since the outbreak of the pandemic. My espousal of the movement around climate change and its numerous manifestations was new to him.

Our conversation rapidly became confrontational, as he expressed his opinions around ‘climate denialism.’ I was prepared to drop the topic of conversation. I realised I was not going to influence a man with his views, who was additionally a Trump supporter. But then Johannes challenged me. “OK,” he said, you send me 6 references supporting the negative effects of the warming planet, and I will send you 12 references debunking them!”

Of course, I had to accept the challenge.  This is what I found. Googling “97% agreement of Climate Scientists” led me to this impressive link To clinch the deal, you might like to follow up with this list: A list of World Wide Scientific Organisations  It may be redundant to report that I have had no response since sharing this information with my challenger.

Would you like to volunteer?

I am feeling a strong need to make changes in my lifestyle to incorporate this new reality.  There is so much personal and public work which needs to be done.  Is there any one among the readers with similar urges to contribute to this important, immanent and challenging work?  You are welcome to contact me with their thoughts and ideas around a joint venture!   There is a form at the bottom of this page which allows you to communicate with me!

Summing up

I was born into the Second World War, a war which had a devastating effect on the world economy.   Some revolutionary post-war thinking initiated schemes like The Marshall Plan.   The success of this initiative resulted in the the two generations following this event, were able to enjoy a higher standard of living than their parents. This trend has subsequently diminished and my offspring will  probably need to be satisfied with fewer possessions, travel more sparingly, and develop a taste for locally produced rather than imported food.

We know that the way things have been done during the past seven decades will not be maintained in the 21st Century.   There will be more hurricanes, floods, droughts and rising seas if we continue this lifestyle which is dependent on massive emissions of carbon. We need to transition to living more modestly and more sustainably.   Recent climate events show that now is a time of an urgent transition.   These changes can now longer be postponed.   We are all needing to participate in the transformation.

We need to move into a pattern of living which is compatible with the natural reserves of our home planet.

 

 

What is Generation Theory?

American research and literature have been including references to Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and millennials for some time. Now the terms are starting to appear in the newspapers in South Africa. In the Cape Times of this morning, Wednesday 2nd October 2019, two articles suggest the public become aware of the influences underlying the habits, values and behaviours of the youngsters of today.

Mannheim’s Generation Theory regarding the influence of current events onyoung minds was brought to the consciousness of the West in the 1950’s.   He believes that significant events in the life of a young generation will be transformative as far as their values and lifestyle are concerned.

Boomer Generation

Thus the Boomer Generation, whose youth was dominated by the Second World War, has only known growing prosperity and a heightened standard of living. America witnessed tremendous economic growth in the decades following WW2. Increasing prosperity influenced the lifestyle of this generation. Children born during and shortly after WW2 were a generation who witnessed an age of growing consumption and wealth.

Millennials of Today

The present generation has been the first cohort to experience the move towards Minimalism. Vegan and vegetarian lifestyles are significant aspects of this new culture. They are eating patterns which help to preserve the resources of the earth while minimising CO2 emissions. The last couple of decades have witnessed the lowering of the standard of living from one generation to the next. This generation is the first one since WW2 in which children experience a lower standard of living than their parents.

Learning from Milennials

With this very brief introduction to Generational Theory, let us now examine “What millennials can teach us about office life!” They have shown us that you don’t need to be in the office from 9 – 5 to be effective. Workforces are becoming more versatile and flexible as technology allows one to conduct one’s business in cafes, trains and even during overseas vacations!

Many bloggers are grateful to be able to work from anywhere in the world. Travel does not challenge their regular flow of income.

Working from Home

When I hear about this concept of a continuous income, I recall reading Vance Packard many years ago. He predicted in the 1950s the introduction of Cottage Industry. Businesses being run from home, cutting out the need for travel and rental of office space. In those days, I remember thinking that sounded like a fanciful dream; however, today it is a reality.

The downside of being able to work from home wherever you may be, whatever the time, is there exists no downtime. Burnout, caused by the stress of being on call at all hours of the day, is a phenomenon of the past twenty odd years. Youngsters starting their careers are made aware of the necessity of time management. This has become an essential skill in order to include leisure and family time are not compromised and are part of the daily agenda.

The Millennials of today are aware of the dangers of being dominated by their careers and are making choices. They realise that the top salary may involve a sacrifice of their mental health and are choosing a lower salary which allows them a more flexible lifestyle

“Don’t let the old man in; Baby Boomers break the mould again.”

This is the title of the second article of this morning’s Cape Times describing changes in the business environment dictated by a generation of retiring boomers. Today retirement does not necessarily mean the end of the time when you earn some money. As Nelson Mandela said, “This is the second time I am retiring from retirement!”

Retirement Villages have become a popular way for boomers to spend their senior years. What is being advocated in this latest study is the potential for building new retirement villages. While most contemporary retirement developments have been built as sanctuaries for non-working people, changes will be needed in the next 20 years. Contemporary retirees are looking at lock-up-and-go lifestyles with facilities for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. This will require future facilities for seniors to conduct their life with high-speed internet facilities, exercise equipment and spaces to socialise and entertain.

Further suggestions for future developers of senior lifestyle facilities are offered. It is suggested that wheelchairs and nurses be kept discreetly in the background as residents sip their chardonnay on the patio!

My personal experience

The recent severe drought we experienced in Cape Town has ensured my generation is acutely aware of the potential of further water shortages in the future. We will never squander water in the way we have in the past. The idea of witnessing a dripping tap is an anathema. No longer do we wash our dishes more than once a day. We all cut down on the use of the washing machine. We know water is a precious commodity.

Today and the Senior Lifestyle

As senior citizens, we have the chance next week to acquaint ourselves with what we can do to save our planet from environmental pollution. Dynamic young women like Greta Thurnberg, who at the moment is favoured to win the Nobel Peace Prize, have made us aware of our responsibility to educate ourselves and others regarding the use of our natural resources. We must understand the impact our daily habits have on global warming. We may not be planning to visit America by yacht, rather than by flying, but we need to be controlling our waste and learning the art and science of recycling.

Let me suggest a good place to begin. A crucial online seminar is starting this month. I suggest you go to this link and sign up. I have confidence you will learn what needs to be done to save our planet from the irreversible damages of human ignorance and mal-practices.