|Issue 27 : 9 January 2009|
In this issue:
Happy new era everyone, as we welcome in 2019 – reunited at last, after oil. It is such a joy to write this celebration issue – in fact, it’s the very first thing I’ve written in 2019. I can’t believe it’s almost 15 years since I wrote my first ever Communiqué.
What a year 2018 was (and what a new era party!) and what a decade we’ve lived through. Wow! I’m still recovering from the sweetest hangover! Read about the party below.
(I trust you’ll understand why I’m upbeat, during what are still very challenging times for most. All around the world, the immediate outlook of more freak weather is bleaker than ever. But I do believe our species has just pulled off a miracle – and turned a critical corner – in terms of prognosis for the future. I believe we may have won the ‘impossible’ battle against carbon cancer.)
Below is my review of the past 10 years. It would be remiss to deny that there’s been colossal heartache and tragedy, and deep personal agony – unbearable at times – locally. Or to deny that the violent weather will continue for many years – decades even – before the healing process really kicks in. Or to deny the worldwide collective grief from both the remnants of old-fashioned warfare, and from each newly record-breaking cataclysmic ‘earth shake’ event.
Next December marks the 15th anniversary of the South East Asia tsunami when, on Boxing Day 2004, almost a quarter of a million people died. Soon after, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. How deeply I regret how slow we all were to awaken back then. Our reluctance to come clean and face up to our fossil addiction, and its consequences, shames us, and was costly in the extreme. But that was then.
I don’t seek to edit-out or ignore the pain – indeed, I feel it keenly now and weep to remember loved ones lost. But bigger (just) is a new feeling of joy, as humanity looks back on this decade and sees it as our finest hour. The decade we gave the kids their future back.
On a personal note, in theory this is the year I retire. In May 2019, I will be 60 years old. There can’t be many who feel as lucky as me (though regular readers may feel the same) to have spent most of their working life – especially the last 15 years of it – fully and happily engaged in The Great Turning (see Joanna Macey www.joannamacy.net/html/great.html and Dr Chris Johnstone www.greatturningtimes.org).
Can we have our planet back, please?
Spending more time with my family would have been nice, but at least they now get the chance to live their lives out, and to spend time with their own children and grandchildren. Life goes on (an expression that has a new poignancy, having seen how precariously close to the point of no return we actually got).
My favourite landmarks of the last decade
Obama 2008: the end of the beginning – of the era of awakening of the USA green giant – initiated by Al Gore. A year of awakenings, as people remembered that bubbles burst.
2009: the year of climate protest, and the year world politicians clamoured to be seen striking new green deals, creating new green jobs, and slowly switching allegiance away from dirty old power to the emerging sunshine of new local and renewable energy. Because we demanded it. But it’s hard for us to imagine how badly the first climate activists were treated. 2009 culminated in the historic Copenhagen agreement – so obvious now, but a miracle leap of progress at that time.
2010: although it had been a huge hit the year before, the March evening when Obama awarded The Age of Stupid an Oscar was the night the whole world finally flipped into consciousness.
2011: another miracle – C&C was constitutionally agreed as the working plan for carbon descent. 2011 was also the year in which the UN adopted a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights (three years after mooted in 2008).
2012: one-time London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s unlikely (2006) boast of ‘the greenest ever Olympics’ actually came true! The organisers realised that the only way the giant stadia would be filled with spectators was by a ‘good new deal’ after it became clear that very few people – in other words, thick skinned, wealthy, news-immune, fossil-soaked dinosaurs – would want to be seen flying anywhere they didn’t have to. Not in 2012! The impact of this mass avoidance of needless air travel won London the 2012 green Olympic gold – by miles.
2013: the UK-inspired global World Renewable Energy Collaboration Karma Social Union (International WRECKSU) starts work equipping transition towns and villages the world over with basic local co-op-owned renewable energy infrastructure.
2014: a year marred by 13 tragic climate events. No one was immune this year.
2015: Prime Minister Caroline Lucas delegates ‘power’ back to the people and timetables the closure of remaining centralised energy supply, the new grid now dedicated to power share.
2016: ‘Sid’ the climate protestor jailed for 10 years in 2009 (but released in 2010) wins the Nobel Peace prize posthumously.
2017: clean wealth pours into Africa as clean power flows out – via giant CSP solar mirrors.
2018: the ‘Come Off It? – we came off it!’ party rocked, as the very last world location for legal fossil fuel extraction was officially shut down by a retiring Barack Obama – to incredible scenes of trans-global celebrations at the ‘new era’s eve’ party, the likes of which mankind has never known before. From ‘Yes we can’ in 2008 to ‘We did it!’ in 2018.
The moratorium on the burning of any fossil fuel is now complete, and is almost an anti-climax. Of course! ‘This isn’t the dark age’ everyone laughs. Poison our own planet? Kill our own children? Er... no! We are not that stupid. Why would anyone want to burn fossil when renewable is reliable, clean, free and eternal! We thank the pioneers of the zero carbon infrastructure that we now enjoy.
With imagination, foresight, and investment compatible with the emerging costs of
One of the more noteworthy features of the decade was the rate at which many top celebrities truly ‘got it’. In a flood of newly unleashed awareness, more and more celebs decided to take on a leadership role by their actions. By cutting their carbon and by choosing to live their lives as if one person could make a difference.
It’s so hard to imagine that everyone used to live as if they believed burning fossil was okay. But such is the stuff of addictions – they feed off themselves. In 2005, humans were expert at suppressing, ignoring and denying everything. They were soaked in oil. As the little graphic from that era used to say: Self roasting species – just add oil.
Well it looks like we’ve got out of the frying pan and the fire. And they all thought it was too late to turn the Titanic around!
Back to the present day, here are a few snippets you might find interesting:
• Next week’s edition of The Wall Street Journal Europe features an interview with me.
• The Independent printed another letter of mine on 23 December 2008:
• I’ve entered this recent piece on C&C for the Ooffoo laureate:
• Test your friends with this quiz that I created for home counties’ lifestyle mag Chic Chat:
This is the T-shirt I've always wanted. Sadly, this is just a digital mock-up and not the real one. Credit for introducing me to the neat slogan goes to Cliff at niceism.com (who I met on a tube, being nice to people).
Here’s my prediction. 2009 is the year:
• We courageously cut all the carbon we can (visibly, inspirationally and willingly).
• We accept, serenely for now, all the carbon ‘out there’ that we can’t (but still protesteth a little).
• We get a huge surprise – how much we underestimated the first and overestimated the second.
I also predict that people will sign up (now!) for www.onehundredmonths.org
(There are only 95 months left...)
Drop me an email
Visit the Carbon Coach website
Read previous issues of Communiqué
Take a look at my blog