A global view of the climate crisis

Disclaimer does not save the (third) world


Waiver helps against global warming. But most countries need more wealth instead of less. A global view of the climate crisis.

Now people are spitting in their hands again, we lower the gross national product .

Extensive waiver is often considered a solution to the climate crisis.

And why not: abandonment is a luxury issue , right?

But luxury problems are, for a good reason, also first world problems .

And in industrialized nations, just over a billion people live .

Renunciation does not save the world, least of all the third world .

two-story huts in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai

The global view as a traveler

You travel as much as I do? Then you know the global unequal distribution: In the vast majority of countries you have much more money as a traveler than locals.

This is especially true of South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and most of Latin America. But even in fast-growing China, there are still many poor people.

In the 21st century, more and more of them are crossing the poverty line or are even reaching modest prosperity. We could not just stop it, even if we wanted to.

Abandonment in industrialized countries may be conceivable. But in developing countries that's completely impossible. There people finally want a piece of the cake.

It's not about a few SUVs in industrialized countries. It's about what happens when all of China wants to drive SUVs. Many discussions about the climate crisis lack the global perspective.

Source: Globalrichlist

You are one of the richest people in the world

We hear about the victims of globalization in the news, but you can not really imagine that from a distance.

Therefore, first a grounding: If you can read this, you probably belong to the richest tenth of humanity.

With 1,000 euros per month of net income, you're richer than 91% of people, according to Global Richlist . With 2,000 euros per month net, you would even be in the top 1.3 percent.

According to Our World in Data, 5 billion people live on less than € 270 per month ($ 10 per day). 3.5 billion people even live on less than 90 euros per month, that's every second person!

Available Daily Budget Worldwide - Source: Our World in Data CC-BY-4.0

Less poverty means more climate crisis

That sounds bad. But ten years ago it was worse and 50 years ago it was much worse. In 1820, 94% of people still lived in absolute poverty (less than 60 euros per month today)

Poverty slowly disappears over the centuries. In exceptional cases, China even reaches decades.

The more money is available, the more the consumption increases. The more consumed, the more climate damage and environmental damage is caused.

Prosperity is harmful to the climate in our economic system. If we want to conquer both poverty and the climate crisis, we must decouple growth and the climate.

This is all the more important because the consequences of the climate crisis in the global South are the worst. Fighting the climate crisis means fighting poverty .

Impossible Burger: 100% flavor, 0% meat

Technology is an alternative to abandonment

The climate crisis is a side effect of technology. But we can just as well replace bad technology with better technology instead of giving it up.

It's too late for a waiver solution anyway. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , it is imperative that we use technology, even to remove CO2 from the air.

Also, many CO2 emissions can be lowered without sacrificing a technology upgrade:

  • Agriculture 2.0 : Impossible Food Insects instead of factory farming
  • Heat Electricity 2.0 : Renewable Nuclear Power instead of Coal, Oil Gas
  • Transport 2.0 : Public transport expansion Rideshares instead of private cars
  • Industry 2.0 : Rolling out current technology increasing efficiency

Technological solutions are complicated and expensive. On the other hand, they are socially easier to implement. This is even more the case in developing countries, where abandonment is not an alternative.

These guys from Ethiopia need a role model

Industrialized countries must be a role model

Of course, technology and abandonment are not mutually exclusive. But abandonment must be low enough not to cause no loss of wealth. Industrialized countries must be a role model.

Many people in developing countries look to us industrialized countries. You see in films and TV series, how high our standard of living is and want to live that way.

If we give up too much of our wealth, that does not just lead to acceptance problems with us. We also lose our role model function in the rest of the world.

Of course, we can only be a role model if we act exemplary. Against idleness or bad solutions, the best role model status helps nothing.

For example, the German energy transition is too expensive and ineffective for imitation . In France, electricity costs half as much and per capita CO2 emissions are half that. That's more of a role model, but it also has to get better.

Well meant: call for voluntary meat renunciation

Voluntary resignation certainly does not help

That was my global view of the climate crisis as a long-term traveler. Could I convince you that renunciation alone will not save the world?

If you continue to be convinced of resignation, at least commit to mandatory laws. Voluntary resignation has never worked.

Voluntary resignation assumes that a notable part of the population lives by abstinence. That's a nice idea, but it does not fit the human psyche at all.

To renounce a moral issue is even more harmful than useful. In my article about flying shame , there is more to why it needs laws.

"Climate wants to be fine": politics is inactive

Join in: Fridays for Future Extinction Rebellion

That does not mean that you are powerless personally. There are much better levers than voluntary waivers.

Granted, the policy obviously fails because of the climate crisis. It does not matter which country and which party.

But two major global movements are campaigning for solutions to the climate crisis. Both plan major actions in the coming weeks:

  • Fridays for Future calls for a big climate strike for all on Friday, September 20, 2019.
  • Extinction Rebellion blocks Berlin and other European capitals from 7 October 2019.

Extinction Rebellion regularly hosts actions, perhaps in your city too. For more information look at an introduction to the XR Café, in many major German cities .

What are your thoughts on the climate crisis?

See you at the demo and the blockade in Berlin?

  1. Silvia Rannsen

    When will the demo and the blockade take place in Berlin?

    LG Silvia

  2. Hello Florian,

    nice that you are thinking about the climate crisis.
    Nevertheless, I find some statements in your text very questionable.
    I go to the row on the individual points. Let's start with your headline: Do you find it, especially as a traveler, not overbearing to use the term "third world"? Are we the "first world" in industrialized countries - and thus at the top of the "world class level"? In times of the Titanic there was also a "third class" compartment. Maybe you've seen the movie and you can remember how the "first class" looked down on the lower class ... This term automatically implies a devaluation of people who do not have the same material resources as you.
    This interpretation can be found in other sections of your text: "If we give up too much of our wealth, this not only leads to acceptance problems with us. We also lose our role model function in the rest of the world "VORBLID function? Is it in your opinion actually exemplary for more than 500 years (with the conquest of the "new world") to destroy cultures, exploit resources and wage war against all those who do not follow the rules of the "Western World" (USA USA)? Europe) want to play? Do you think that if we let the peoples of the American African Asian continent follow their lifestyles, would the "climate crisis" have come? We have ALREADY UPLOADED the capitalist mindset to the world. The rainforest is burning, Indigenous peoples around the world are fighting for the preservation of nature because it is their livelihood (Bol.comas ecc.). And if the developed countries continue to happily consume, then the oil companies will continue to penetrate into the rain forest, mining companies poison mountains and rivers.

    And then I find it extremely questionable that you just say "Voluntary resignation assumes that a notable part of the population lives by abstinence. That's a nice idea, but it does not fit the human psyche. "WHAT EXACTLY IS THE HUMAN MENTALITY FOR YOU? Our "psyche" has been shaped all our lives by parents, school, boss, church, society so that we live and act in accordance with the system. Do you deny our species human beings the property of independence, insight, empathy and agency? Do you really need politicians and laws that say what's right or wrong? That would be a very sad realization.

    Please do not misunderstand me - I do not want to criticize you as a person hereby. I'm just shocked by the fact that such a text was published by someone who has come to know the world on the road, and I would expect it to be more intense and more reflective of the complexities and realities of the earth.

    • Third World is synonymous with developing countries . This has nothing to do with third class.
      And yes, in the third world we have a role model function. The whole world wants to be as wealthy as we are.
      And yes, that's part of the human psyche. Nobody wants to give up wealth or the promise of prosperity voluntarily.

      That's why it stays the same: renunciation does not save the world.

      You can try to close your eyes and tell stories about the noble savage. Or you accept the reality and we can start saving the world.

  3. Nigger is also synonymous with "dark-skinned people". Do you still use the word?
    But good. Since you have neither constructive nor destructive responded to my arguments, but have repeated your already known approaches, I will not go further now to your statements. Maybe we meet in real life sometime and have the opportunity to exchange our views again.
    Before I accuse you of something, I would like to ask you directly: do you also talk to the local population on your travels or is your referral group made up of people from the western world?

    We can only change the world if we realize that the true change is beginning with ourselves.

    • Which arguments? Capitalism is evil and destroys everything? The tribes of the Bol.com live the only true life? What are you actually arguing and for what or against what?
      How about pragmatism?

      I keep talking to locals in third world countries. And they really all want our standard of living. This is due to the fact that our prosperity is now visible through the distribution of television for each and every day.

      Honestly, do you want to move to a slum in Mumbai to save the climate? No? How can you ask that from other people?

  4. What I argue? For what and against what?
    Good, if you want I summarize my points like:

    I find it unthinkable to use the word "third world" because for me it includes a gradation of the people who are the losers of the capitalist economic system. The division of the world into first, second, and third countries is a categorization that, as the view presented in your article, is very Eurocentric. This categorization negates the possibility that there are peoples on this earth who are proud of their way of life and culture. Not everyone wants to live like us, I can tell you that for sure! On the contrary, in many countries, the population suffers more from Western doctrine and, above all, US influence. Not all concepts that are considered "positive" in Europe and the US - be it in technological terms or in many other respects - can be applied to all peoples of the world. The complex cultural subtleties are simply completely hidden. Take the example of Mexico: Here are some people who WANT to pursue their traditional way of life and fight for the preservation of nature because they want to maintain their independence and do NOT want to be dependent on the system. And often these people put their lives on the line to defend their country against the economic interests of large multinational companies.

    Why do we like to think in our culture that our culture is the "non-plus-ultra" and something of a "showcase culture"? This is a dangerous colonialist view of the world! So according to the motto "We have to civilize the savages and show them how to live properly" and then concepts such as "development policy" - as if we have to show our little children, how to make it the adults right. (And in the process of destroying the planet with our lifestyle sooner or later.) Really very very advanced ....)

    And then I want to ask you what is YOUR approach to save the climate? You have indeed told how we should NOT do it but is your only solution really to wait for laws?
    Because abandonment changes something and does not mean that we have to move to a slum in Mumbai. What you call "renunciation" (and strangely negative connotations) can simply mean rebuilding awareness that we do not need all the things they sell to us. Is it bad for you to go to the bakery instead of the car? Or a cloth bag to use for shopping? Or buy second-hand clothes instead of going to the mall every season? To have reusable bottles instead of using plastic bottles? Eating meat once a week instead of three times a day? Are all these little actions really NOT possible for you without laws ?!

    Finally I would like to ask you not to put any phrases in your mouth. I have never said that we have to "go to a slum in Mumbai" for the purpose of climate rescue and have not demanded that from other people.


    • Hi Julia,

      We can talk about that, with a criticism of the term "third world" rather distracting from my article.

      Originally it was like this:
      1st World: Liberalism
      2nd World: Real Socialism
      3rd World: Non-aligned States

      So that used to be a political term and had little to do with capitalism. Still less does the term have to do with capitalism today. It's not as if any country today has no capitalism, including Mexico and now even North Korea.

      Today, the third world has become the economic term. I think the term is not pejorative. He simply describes economic facts. That would not change if you use a synonym.


      I did not say that our culture is a role model. That's certainly not the case. It's about our prosperity.


      With me personally, you run open doors with abandonment. I have been a convinced minimalist since my trip around the world. All the more, I know how hard it is to convince other people of the benefits. And I also know how much CO2 I emit anyway, simply because I live in Germany. Personally, I can not change that at all, that's only possible through politics.

      Disclaimer sermons also deter and distract from effective action. Your plastic bottles do not care about the climate. Actually efficient measures such as giving up the car do not bring anything in the small.

      Imagine, you bring 3.5% of the population to give up significantly. Then nothing is won. But if 3.5% of the population go out on the street, then everything can change!


      Our approach is called eco-modernism or ecocragmatism. In my own words, that means decoupling CO2 emissions from growth with efficient measures and technologies. Then we can offer prosperity to the whole world without destroying it.

      Capitalism as the largest affluent machine is our ally. "Our capitalism" is admittedly shit, but "capitalism" is not. Capitalism must always be directed to the right goals, otherwise it will be like "our capitalism". That's up to politics, not the citizen.

      More information on the Ökomodernismus on Wikipedia .

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