Increased spending power leads to environmental damage. Its hour for a radical scheme, says Guardian columnist George Monbiot
It is not quite true that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Musician and novelists, for example, can become extremely rich by dedicating other people pleasure. But it does appear to be universally true that in front of every great fortune lies a great crime. Immense wealth translates automatically into immense environmental impacts, regardless of the intentions of those who possess it. The very wealthy, almost as a matter of definition, are committing ecocide.
A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a worker at a British private airport.” I see things that really shouldn’t be happening in 2019 ,” he wrote. Every day he watches Global 7000 planes, Gulfstream G6 50 s and even Boeing 737 s take off from the airport carrying a single passenger, mostly flying to Russia and the US. The private Boeing 737 s, created in order to take 174 passengers, are filled at the airport with around 25,000 litres of fuel. That’s as much fossil energy as a small African town might use in a year.
Where are these single passengers running? Perhaps to visit one of their superhomes, constructed and run at vast environmental cost, or to take a trip on their superyacht, which might burn 500 litres of diesel an hour just ticking over, and which is built and furnished with rare materials extracted at the cost of beautiful places.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that when Google convened a meeting of the rich and famous at the Verdura resort in Sicily in July to discuss climate breakdown, its delegates arrived here 114 private planes and a fleet of megayachts, and drove around the island in supercars. Even when they mean well, the ultrarich cannot assistance trashing the living world.
Read more: www.theguardian.com