Would a peace prize to Greta have caused a political crisis?

Stockholm 2019 September 27
Photo: Mats Sederholm

Also published on Democracy Chronicles

On December 10 the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded, and many have wanted Greta Thunberg to be the recipient. But would the world’s leaders really have been able to take in Greta’s message? Few would probably realize that a battle has to be fought before her visions come to fruition.

Greta:

We cannot save the world by playing according to your rules, because the rules must be changed.

And if solutions within our system are impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself. We are striking to shake the system.

This is just the beginning. Change will happen – believe it or not.

Young idealistic dreams to take with a pinch of salt? Or does that, perhaps, just reflect the disillusioned and befuddled judgements of the older generation? The quotes are true, but not because it is Greta who pronounced them, but because all creations have an expiry date, even the society that our western world wants to call the most adult and noble we can ever dream of.

We should understand that it is time for an upgrade when our civilization has evolved to steal resources from future generations, from those who cannot defend themselves. We should acknowledge the abuse we have inflicted and our collective normalization of dishonesty in order to maintain our way of life.

• Our economy, the lifeblood of our society, is based on the idea that we steal from the future. Our life force, economic growth, is financed by money that banks create out of nothing, for a debt that we can only pay off in the future.

• We are stealing from our future communities by constantly consuming more than the planet can deliver.

• We are stealing resources and not really being true to ourselves when every day is spent in the pursuit of more ‘stuff’ because society expects us to participate in this addiction and destruction.

The nuts and bolts of our way of life are based on abuse. We live in a dream state, in a consensus trance that an increasing number of people are breaking out of. The world is programmed. The way forward is about de-programming.

But system change is not a utopia, it has happened before.

During the 1930s, the world faced gigantic political and social problems, not least in the United States after the “Great Depression”. President Roosevelt gradually carried out what became known as The New Deal, which entailed a comprehensive reform program involving investments in the public sector and business regulations that resulted in falling unemployment and social reforms. The nightmare was broken, optimism increased, and society rose up again for the benefit of all citizens as it led to the welfare societies of the western world. The ensuing culture of consumption would, ironically, be the beginning of the nightmare into which we have now been seduced.

This time, however, we cannot lobby and negotiate in the same way. Mother Earth does not bow to demands for a realistic transition or a smooth exit.

A peace award to Greta would demand the politicization of her message. The struggle over who will be allowed to carry out the economic, democratic and social adjustments required for this system change will lead to a political war. We are talking about an Extreme Green New Deal beyond the visions of American Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and European DiEM25, with not only green investment but also with demands for reduced consumption. Mother Earth’s more intense convulsions will force politicians and experts to drill ever deeper into the ground of our civilization as they plan for a transition. When they find that hundred-year-old political and economic paving stones must be blown away, we will have a near-existential struggle with progressive forces on one hand and the established and conservative on the other.

The hatred against Roosevelt from isolationist forces during the 30-40s is basically the same as what Greta has to endure today. It comes from those who are embittered, scared and worried; the conservative realists without alternatives. But the end of the coming battle is a given “believe it or not”.Much indicates that Greta will receive next year’s Peace Prize. The climate problem will then be more established, with more insights and greater desperation. It would be the Nobel establishment’s cry for help: a cry for structure and clear efforts. The luxury trap must be disabled and all those who do not want to put an end to the theft and corruption of our civilization should not be allowed to influence our society. In a reclaimed parliament, politicians will be able to enact laws and sort out the parts of society that benefit everyone. What is actually there in the wallet is what we have; what the earth can afford today is what is offered. People should be able to live in the present without being burdened by the financial yoke that the future forces them to bear. Shopping on credit will again be thought of as a disreputable practice.

A Serious Green New Deal

Also published on Democracy Chronicles

The idea of a Green New Deal (GND) is rapidly sweeping across the western world right now. GND is the concept that aims for a radical effort against the impact of climate change. But it might well end with further political rhetoric, using the climate issue as a hook.

Many have wanted to fill this GND goodie bag with their own political ideals, painting it green hoping that this will bring good luck … to their own ideology and its popularity. Barack Obama, Gordon Brown, the US Democrats and most recently, the victorious Spanish Social Democrats (PSOE) are among those who have tried to add this concept to their campaigns.

GND was originally (2007) a purely “green-investment-and-job” concept inspired by Roosevelt’s New Deal but has since been expanded to include social reforms and subsequently been approved by greens, social democrats and the European left.

The only question is whether or not GND is a new American feel-good story in which economic growth looks green instead of blue, sprinkled with some minor social conscience concessions for those worst off. Or does it actually imply the total conversion of society that is necessary?

According to the autumn message from IPCC, we face the challenge of ending 200 years of fossil fuel use within 30 years. We must halve the emissions by 2030 and reduce them to zero by the middle of the century. Presuming economic growth continues, our energy consumption will triple during that period. Limited fossil fuel emissions, green investments and jobs, clean technology, environmental know-how or the homely intention of Roosevelt will not stop the climate threat. But there also needs to be less consumption and depletion of the Earth’s resources. And with such a solution, the number of GND politicians would probably shrink considerably, as the popularity factor would drastically drop!

The word growth, implicitly economic, is what the whole western world is based on. We are told that unless we have growth, we will go under. And since most, perhaps all, of Europe’s politicians (for whom climate conscious Europeans are due to vote in the European elections on May 26) choose the road to destruction, it is important to voice the unvarnished truth. The radical change in society needed to decelerate climate change requires a radical policy. The politicians standing alongside the polling stations with seductive claims about welfare and job opportunities, as well as saving the planet, constitute a jokers’ market.

What is needed:

A New Social Structure – A New Economy – Massive Green Investment – A Renovation of Democracy.

In France, the Yellow Vest protests have left Macron politically isolated. Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood – that is the social knot that must FIRST be untangled before green taxes would be accepted. Inequality is about to erode the whole of Europe with immigration problems, poverty and distrust in its trail. Planting green politics in such poisoned soil is the hopeless proposal politicians offer us today.

A serious climate reversal cannot build on financial markets and banks that continue to make money out of nothing by lending and thereby gaining control over entire economies without conscience or democracy. A new economy must be able to withstand less consumption and smaller loans. Stop making things that break in the interest of profit. Stop bombarding people with advertising, creating dependence on lifestyle and status. The whole treadmill must slow down. The economy must adapt to people, not the other way around. A climate reversal requires composure, not rush.

We are faced with an existential crossroads. Not: “And we also need to think about the environment”.

Today, everyone loves the climate activists, but it is only a matter of time before the support will subside. Already today, there are mutterings from the right about the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. As time goes on, protests will also come from liberal politicians, the media and the business community, and perhaps also from the conservative left, when the inevitable debate about a serious New Green Deal will gain momentum and the issue is becoming an architectural and cultural one for society and not a political makeover.

The election for the future is not a party issue. It is about choosing between fear and conservatism or courage and progress. Maybe even a choice between activism or politicians who do not want to change until they suffer from the panic Greta Thunberg wishes for.


“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
A Davis