Washington Post: We Must Change the Meaning of Wealth to Appreciate Climate Action

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t ethical voter, David Pentland; “… What if we imagined “wealth” consisting not of the money we stuff into banks or the fossil fuel-derived goods we pile up, but of joy, beauty, friendship, community, closeness … “

Opinion  What if climate change meant not doom — but abundance?

By Rebecca Solnit
March 15, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Rebecca Solnit, a writer and historian, is the author of more than 20 books and co-editor of the anthology “Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story From Despair to Possibility,” publishing in April.

A monastic once told me renunciation can be great if it means giving up things that make you miserable.

This vision, I think, is what has been missing when we talk about the climate crisis — and how we should respond to it.

Much of the reluctance to do what climate change requires comes from the assumption that it means trading abundance for austerity, and trading all our stuff and conveniences for less stuff, less convenience. But what if it meant giving up things we’re well rid of, from deadly emissions to nagging feelings of doom and complicity in destruction? What if the austerity is how we live now — and the abundance could be what is to come?

What if we imagined “wealth” consisting not of the money we stuff into banks or the fossil fuel-derived goods we pile up, but of joy, beauty, friendship, community, closeness to flourishing nature, to good food produced without abuse of labor? What if we were to think of wealth as security in our environments and societies, and as confidence in a viable future?

For so many of us, being busy with work has leached away our capacity to pursue true riches. What if we were to prioritize reclaiming our time— to fret less about getting and spending — and instead “spend” this precious resource on creative pursuits, on adventure and learning, on building stronger societies and being better citizens, on caring for the people (and other species and places) we love, on taking care of ourselves?

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/03/15/rebecca-solnit-climate-change-wealth-abundance/

Dust Bowl 1930sDust Bowl 1930sDust Bowl 1930s
Dust Bowl 1930s. Source Bởi Sloan (?) – United States Department of Agriculture; Image Number: 00di0971

Anyone who bothers to open a history book already knows what time wealth without money wealth looks like.

There is nothing romantic about trying to grow your own food with hand tools, without the assistance of modern fossil fuel powered technology, sprays and fertilisers.

The horror of 9/11 shocked the entire world. It also has a very personal impact on me, my business went into deep freeze for an entire year.

In 2002 I planted a large vegetable garden, to try to stretch my savings.

I had lots of “time wealth”, but very little money wealth.

My efforts with the vegetable garden made a difference. Those veggies I grew in 2002 saved my family from financial ruin, they helped us stretch our savings just enough, to bridge the year long post 9/11 gap in our income.

But after the economy started thawing, I was very glad to get back to making money, instead of enjoying that endless “time wealth” of growing vegetables by hand.

I’m not dissing people who enjoy growing their own food. I enjoy growing food, every year I make bottles of delicious lime cordial from my own garden. But if my fruit trees fail to produce, as they do some years, money wealth means I can buy limes and mandarins and whatever else I need from the supermarket. Money wealth is food security and peace of mind.

So my answer to anyone who tries to romanticise being close to nature is try it out – not for a day or two, or a weekend camping trip with nylon tents and airbeds and tinned food and bug spray and propane cookers and heaters. Try living that way for a year.

Anyone who makes the attempt to live the lifestyle green romantics like Rebecca Solnit advocate, will learn very quickly that nature is a harsh place full of biting, stinging insects, and snails and slugs and caterpillars and grubs which try to eat all your crops. They will also come to appreciate why thousands of generations of our ancestors devoted their lives to leaving future generations a better world than the primitive subsistence world they inherited.

via Watts Up With That?


March 16, 2023 at 12:37PM

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