The times they are a-changin'

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Maanantai 12.7.2021 klo 18:49 - Mikko Nikinmaa

A change is the most terrible thing that the human mind can envision. This is actually the reason, why climate actions are so difficult to carry out. Many if not most people think that we cannot accept changes to our way of life, since they would mean that things will become worse. Whenever questionnaires about climate attitudes are made, they show this resistance to change to be a problem even to the people making the questions. Generally, a question asked is: “Do you think you have been required to give up something because of climate actions?” This question as such indicates that change is negative, and the best thing would be if one could continue with the old ways. Instead, the question should be: “Do you envision that combatting climate change have or will require changes in your way of life?”

The times they are a-changin’. But the changes do not necessarily mean that the quality of life decreases, maybe it would improve; a little less hurry, a little less competition, a little more time to do whatever one wishes. Maybe we could use less resources, buy only one third of the clothes we buy today etc. This may sound socialistic, but it is difficult for me to see that some companies earn billions (in €, £ or $) yet out of those profits only 1-2 % is tax revenue, while at the same time a person earning 50000 pays often 30-40 % of the income in taxes. And both the income differences have increased and taxes of the rich generally decreased while those of the normal taxpayer have increased throughout rich countries. If one required the richest 1 % of population to spend 5 % of their yearly profits to climate actions and if 20 % of the world’s military spending was used to improve the quality of life of poor people, most present problems would be solved. The likelihood that military force would be required anywhere would be markedly reduced.

The times they are a-changin’. What was good in 1960’s is not appropriate now. We have the means to combat climate change and social inequality of people, but to do that a radical change in our attitudes is required.

Avainsanat: climate change, environmental economics

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