Music by Kajiki
In conversations with scientists and activists, I hear the same words, over and again: “We’re screwed.” Government plans are too little, too late.
What we need – sudden and drastic action – is widely considered impossible
Let’s set aside the obvious lessons of the pandemic, when the magic money tree miraculously burst into leaf, and people radically changed their behaviour.
There’s a bigger example: when the US joined the second world war
Before the US declared war, President Franklin Roosevelt was calling for levels of production that were widely considered impossible.
But after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the impossible happened.
The day after the attack, Roosevelt immediately began to reorganize the entire nation
He introduced, for the first time in US history, general federal income taxes to pay for the changes,
– between 1940 and 1945, total government spending rose roughly tenfold, and its military budget rose by a factor of 42.
With this money, civilian industries were entirely retooled for war:
The car industry was instructed to switch to military production: its massive equipment was immediately jack-hammered out of the floor and replaced, often in a matter of weeks, with new machines, and it began turning out tanks, aircraft engines, fighter planes, cannons and machine guns. By 1944, Ford was completing a long-range bomber plane almost every hour, and during three years of war the US manufactured 87,000 naval vessels,
Roosevelt described it as a “miracle of production”. But it wasn’t a miracle. It was a well-laid plan.
The US war effort mobilised tens of millions of people: number of American troops rose 26-fold and the civilian labour force increased by 10 million (many of the new workers were women).
From 1942 until 1945, the manufacture of cars was banned, Tyres and gasoline were strictly rationed. A national speed limit of 35mph was imposed, to save fuel.
The construction of new homes was also banned, meat, butter, sugar, clothes and shoes were also limited, and EVERYTHING was recycled: chewing gum wrappers, rubber bands, used cooking fat.
And there was a huge public information campaign:
Posters warned people:
“When you ride ALONE, you ride with Hitler! Join a car-sharing club TODAY”
“Is this trip really necessary?”
“Waste helps the enemy: conserve material”
Consumer’s Victory Pledge: “I will buy carefully; I will take good care of the things I have; I will waste nothing.
So what stops the world from responding in the same way to the climate crisis?
a lack of political will….
We need to make politicians understand that the survival of life on Earth is more important than their ideological commitment to limited government.
So what is our Pearl Harbor moment?
Well, how about now?
the US has recently come under unprecedented climatic attack. (Japan too!)The heat domes, the droughts and fires (in Japan: the heat waves, floods and typhoons) should shock everyone out of their normal ways of thinking.
Because right now the gap between these climate disasters and people’s understanding of what is causing them is, arguably, the greatest public information failure in human history.
We need to be constantly reminding people of what is at stake.
As the US mobilisation showed, when governments and societies decide to act, they can achieve things that in normal times are considered impossible. Catastrophe is not a matter of fate. It’s a matter of choice.
Hey Simon what do you think?
Let me get my tea…sound effect…so I can do some drinking with my thinking….
This is necessary…..but I’m not sure how to generate the political will….
Hey listeners what do you think?
Your turn to vent!
Would you like some tea?
1.Do you think this massive transformation is necessary?
2.What do you think of our chances of actually doing it?
どうぞ vent your thoughts and feelings on this issue – send me an email!