Black Friday on a dangerously warming planet is the tumour of consumer capitalism

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The mad cult worship of consumerism that is Black Friday on a warming planet is a cultural tumour. The White house dropping a major new report showing the full impact climate change will cause on Black Friday is heavy with symbolism…

A Grave Climate Warning, Buried on Black Friday
On Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, the federal government published a massive and dire new report on climate change. The report warns, repeatedly and directly, that climate change could soon imperil the American way of life, transforming every region of the country, imposing frustrating costs on the economy, and harming the health of virtually every citizen.

Most significantly, the National Climate Assessment—which is endorsed by nasa, noaa, the Department of Defense, and 10 other federal scientific agencies—contradicts nearly every position taken on the issue by President Donald Trump. Where the president has insisted that fighting global warming will harm the economy, the report responds: Climate change, if left unchecked, could eventually cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars per year, and kill thousands of Americans to boot. Where the president has said that the climate will “probably” “change back,” the report replies: Many consequences of climate change will last for millennia, and some (such as the extinction of plant and animal species) will be permanent.

The report is a huge achievement for American science. It represents cumulative decades of work from more than 300 authors. Since 2015, scientists from across the U.S. government, state universities, and businesses have read thousands of studies, summarizing and collating them into this document. By law, a National Climate Assessment like this must be published every four years.

…the myopic focus on quarterly profits, on never ending growth, on increasing economic activity above all other considerations coupled with a toxic cultural consumerism and unregulated free market capitalism equates to an existential crisis for our species.

When just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions, when Fonterra, our largest climate change polluter, can push ‘Open Gate’ propaganda unchallenged and when Oil Corporations knew about and hide climate change as far back as the 1990s – the problem is our economic model fuelled on rampant consumerism.

Refusing to accept and acknowledge the role of this economic drive to destroy every square inch of the environment to feed an insatiable need for manipulated wants and brainwashed desires to prop up damaged self esteems and modern day neurosis is a type of collective insanity.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

We have run out of time to be anything other than radical.

The planet’s dangerous warming is here, it is the present moment and there is nothing that can stop it.

Watching Black Friday championed in this country is like tracking the growth of a metastasising cancer. Mass subsidisation of sustainable living and huge taxation penalties against consumerism which pollutes is part of the rebalance,  but the first step is acknowledging a cultural, economic and political revolution must first take place.

It’s time that revolution was seeded because the bitter harvest of our greed and pollution is heavy on the poisoned vine.

We have to perform cultural, political and economic amputations now if we are to adapt in time to make some type of functioning society workable.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Well said, Martyn. Yours is one of a number of sane voices in an ocean of commercial noise and cultural absurdity.

    Yes, Martyn, the culture of consumerism poses an existential threat to our species (and most other species).

    Yes, much of what we witness on a daily basis is insane.

    And yes, ‘We have run out of time to be anything other than radical.’

    However, you can bet your bottom dollar that, after reading your post, the denialists will be out in force, declaring the average temperature of the Earth is not rising, or declaring that there is no link between CO2 emissions and planetary overheating, or declaring that extraordinarily high atmospheric CO2 and rising temperatures will be a good thing etc.

    ‘Mass subsidisation of sustainable living and huge taxation penalties against consumerism which pollutes is part of the rebalance’

    Yes, I had dreams of such things 20 years ago, when I recognised that consumption was the problem (along with population growth). Even 10 years ago I hope for radical change. But not now.

    I now recognise that this society is predicated on the use of fossil fuels and is predicated on avoiding discussion of the consequences of the use of fossil fuels. It is predicated on the absurd notion of continuous economic growth on a finite planet. Even as the limits of resources and the capacity of the Earth to process waste are reached the system still demands growth. Yes, that is insane.

    You are calling for an orchestrated decline in consumption. But shortly after consumption falls substantially the economic-financial starts to collapse -falling house prices, falling Kiwisaver accounts, failing credit and collapse of retail, mass unemployment and social unrest.

    Therefore, politicians and people in the commercial sector will continue to focus their attention of propping up everything that makes matters worse in the long run. Their status and lifestyles and security depend on denial of reality and depend on propping up dysfunctional economic systems. It is clear they will continue to prop up dysfunctional systems till they can’t, at their progeny’s expense.

    2019 may be very ‘interesting’ because El Nino conditions are developing.

    ‘Forecasters in the US have already warned of an imminent El Niño. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said in October that a dry, hot summer was very likely, with increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires and no relief for already drought-stricken farmers. There is evidence that climate change is making the effects of El Niño more severe.
    The heat boost from El Niño helped 2016 to be the hottest year ever recorded. The following year, 2017, was ranked equal second, but was the hottest for a year without an El Niño. Scientists expect 2018, which saw climate-related disasters around the globe, to be the fourth hottest on record.

    Billions of tonnes of carbon emissions are continuing and greenhouse gases are at record concentrations, meaning their heating effect is stronger than ever. But whether a new El Niño will help make 2019 a new record remains to be seen.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/27/climate-warming-el-nino-very-likely-in-2019-says-un-agency

    • Afewknowthetruth ,I used to believe that house prices would fall catastrophically but I am doubtful now. In past crises they always did, more or less, rise and fall cyclically, but economic circumstances have changed and house prices may not fall for decades.
      N Zealand’s population is about 5 million now; China’s is 1.42 billion (3 thousand times greater if my comps are right) Suppose 1 kiwi puts down a deposit of $30 thousand on a house. 3 thousand Chinese can put down $10 each on the same house and still buy every house on the market..
      If the Chinese work collectively (and they will) there is no imaginable price that they cannot pay for a Kiwi house. Kiwis can be forced out of the market and may be bankrupted, to pay exorbitant rents (to Chinese landlords) or live in cars but to the Chinese this is just small change.
      What they really want is the land, the house on top is a bonus. When house prices rise it is not the house price that increases ( a good builders can estimate the cost the house itself to the nearest $1000). It is the land price that really changes. How much is the land price? Answer; what is your disposable income?

      There is only one way to stop this profitable speculation and that is to not sell NZ land to anyone. The land itself must belong to the nation and be looked after by a national corporation. It can be leased long term (99 years?) but never privately owned. If the land cant be bought the Chinese wont be interested and there will be no inducement to speculate.

      • Logical thought processes lead to the conclusion that houses in densely populated locations (all big cities) will fall dramatically when the food (produced and distributed courtesy of cheap, abundant oil) stops arriving because no one will be able to live in such places.

        On the other hand, logical thought leads to the conclusion that house prices in rural locations will rise dramatically, since those will locations be where food may be produced.

        In the past house prices have trended upwards because the value of money was constantly reduced via central bank ‘money-printing’. However, the Ponzi global financial that accompanied industrial civilisation clearly cannot keep going for much longer since it is predicated on cheap and abundant energy.

        NZ should expect a stampede of environmental refugees in the near future, as living conditions become increasingly unbearable in nations worst affected by pollution and abrupt climate change.

        All the chickens that are consequences of overpopulation and overconsumption are coming home to roost.

  2. Tonnes of used – but excellent condition clothing – fills our rubbish dumps. Our second hand clothing stores and op shops can’t keep up with bags of clothing dumped by people who then spend money on the latest fashion styles.

    This is “fast fashion”. It is a billion dollar industry. And it is as wasteful as anything we could possibly dream up.

    • Not just clothing Frank. I volunteered a number of years at a hospice shop.

      Some folk regularly change curtains and bedspreads whenever they go out of fashion, usually the colour for bedroom decor has changed. Same with lounge suites.

      Break one of a set of nice Italian wine glasses, and the other five can go to the Sallies- better than biffing them out or having them non matching.

      In my childhood everything was recycled.Old clothing made rag rugs.
      Padded quilts were made from layered ex-clothing. The good quality serge from a man’s suit could make a girl’s skirt. The collars on men’s shirts were “turned”. Women unraveled clean knitwear, wound it into skeins, and re-knitted it.The dripping from the Sunday roast was stored in tin cans to make soap.My mother made all her own soap. She would never have given guests bought biscuits.

      The quality of clothing was better then, but part of the problem now with the Op Shops is that the prices are often too high. This is largely because their focus is primarily to make money for their own charities, rather than to provide help for poorer people – but the V De Paul are still pretty good behind the scenes.

      It staggering that the importance of having designer label clothing now extends right down to pre-schoolers, and good labels in clothing or shoes doesn’t necessarily mean better quality.

  3. Two other things worry me as well.
    First, how consumerism has corrupted the term “Black Friday”. To me, Black Friday is a semi-religious term given to any 13th day of the month that happens to fall on Friday, which is considered unlucky for a number of reasons, which you can choose to believe or not as it suits you.
    The other creepy thing is how effortlessly another shameless American consumerist festival has slipped into New Zealand culture with hardly anybody asking any questions about what does it mean and why do we need it? Until a couple of weeks ago most people here had probably never heard of it, and now its like it has always been here.
    Just like the American corruption of Santa Claus and Halloween.
    Next we might just be celebrating Thanksgiving Day instead of Waitangi day and celebrating the 4th of July instead of Guy Fawkes.

  4. And wouldn’t it be great if TVNZ would stop advertising, especially cars, endless stuff contained in plastic, crap food and junk.
    We clear forests for the Chinese and they kindly return the favour by sending NZ millions of tons of rubbish to be sold in $2 type shops.

  5. Not just clothing Frank. I volunteered a number of years at a hospice shop.

    Some folk regularly change their curtains and bedspreads whenever they go out of fashion – often the colour for bedroom decor has changed. Same with lounge suite styles.

    Break one of a set of nice Italian wine glasses, and the other five can go to the Sallies- better than biffing them out or having them non matching.

    In my childhood everything was recycled.Old clothing made rag rugs.
    Padded quilts were made from layered ex-clothing. The good quality serge from a man’s suit could make a girl’s skirt. The collars on men’s shirts were “turned”. Women unraveled clean knitwear, wound it into skeins, and re-knitted it.The dripping from the Sunday roast was stored in tin cans to make soap.My mother made all her own soap. She would never have given guests bought biscuits, and I never tasted store-bought jam, sauce or pickle.

    The quality of clothing was better then, but part of the problem now with the Op Shops is that their prices are often too high. This is largely because their focus is primarily to make money for their own charities, rather than to provide help for poorer people – but the V De Paul are still pretty good behind the scenes.

    Women’s magazines often used to feature articles on how to re-gig unfashionable attire.

    It staggering that the importance of having designer label clothing now extends right down to pre-schoolers, and having high-end labels in clothing or shoes doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. And the damn label often goes on the outside.

  6. Several comments offered in TDB by different persons the over the past weeks indicate essential and supportive pieces of an overall NZ strategy for climate resilience, based upon extra-parliamentary initiatives.

    Those elements should be brought together under a framework for “local action and resilience”. The following priorities or initial thoughts could be part of such framework:

    • Formation of an ‘Alliance for NZ Climate Resilience’, with local members and groups from all strata of life, operating beyond party boundaries.
    • Establishment of a ‘NZ Climate Resilience Trust Fund’ for pooling of resources to support local and rural initiatives for climate adaptation and resilience.
    • Climate awareness and action programmes evolving through Community Radio Stations and Mobile IT media.
    • Implementation of a ‘Rural Kiwi Development Strategy’ with focus on diversified agriculture, fisheries, forestry, small and medium enterprises with low emission standards, vocational training in appropriate and adaptive technologies, conservation and sustainable management of local natural resources (water, soil, flora, fauna, land, land- and seascapes).

    Existing market forces may unload a bundle of unpleasant and disagreeable responses when prices for land and houses in vulnerable locations (e.g. along the coastline, erosion-prone hill-sides) start to drop because of possible climatic impact.

    For the urban reader:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12167607

    • Also. Instead of seeking cross party consensus I’d probably go for a free trade deal with the Pacific Leaders forum with words to the effect of the above written in the first chapter.

      Prime Ministers have far more expensive remedies at there disposal than than local action and climate resilience. Nothing like a good snooker shot executed well.

  7. This is an account that will come due for payment very soon.
    The seas in the Arctic are being flooded by warmer Atlantic seawater and the Methane Clathrate deposits will thaw enmass.
    But that’s okay.
    Just keep buying your diesel powered twin can 4WD utes.
    Anyone under 50 will never know old age.

  8. Consumerism is worse and more harmful a DRUG than Crack Cocain, also more than Fentanyl:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fentanyl

    Western capitalism is hooked to it, people tied into the western and even Chinese and other economic systems are hooked to it, and it is now the basis of our economic system, it is a house of cards that will one day collapse, at least bit by bit.

    It is near impossible now to stop or reverse it, as it is built on the exploitation of resources as if there is no tomorrow.

    Regions, countries, whole areas on continents, the ocean and so forth are raped and pillaged for enabling and expanding consumerism that people are hooked to.

    The growth we have is mostly built on consumerism, and the greed of whole populations, who dance to the tunes of the elite, who has the ones pulling the strings.

    Just try to think how could we replace plastic as packaging, as other material used to make so many products. It is near impossible, any other product made from say plant material would come at the cost of denying food for many, as the land or water such alternative resources would have to be grown in, would then not be available to grow foodstuffs.

    It seems so many are waiting for mere miracles, that won’t happen. We are still wating for nuclear fusion to become an energy source to use, so far it has not been made possible, certainly not in a practical and economical way.

    We have increase of CO2 emissions again globally, as a report said today, it is due to resumed GROWTH in various economies.

    So we are digging our own huge grave, while we build virtual towers of Babel, huge cities, where people are mere tiny wheels in huge complex systems, and where one hand does no longer know what the other does.

    History repeats itself, this time is will be massive destruction and billions will ultimately perish. I do not recommend any person has off spring now, you will assign them to the bleakest of human futures imaginable.

    I feel sorry for kids born these days, honestly.

  9. Looks like I was wrong: thus far, the comments section has no denial of fundamental science nor denial of its implications.

    Meanwhile -shock and horror!!!- a small piece of the fundamental truth that politicians and the commercial sector have been ignoring/concealing for a long time has gone mainstream. And what a shocker it is for advocates of business-as-usual.

    ‘Rising sea levels will swallow Wellington suburb, research shows’

    ‘A recent study commissioned by Hutt City Council warns that all property in the Wellington suburb of Petone will be completely uninsurable by 2050. Buy a home there today, and by the time your 30 year mortgage is all paid up, your quarter-acre dream will be an underwater nightmare.’

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/rising-sea-levels-will-swallow-wellington-suburb-research-shows/ar-BBQbyP1?ocid=spartandhp

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