Guest blog – Things I would like to be different by Paul Fisher

Despite being bought up in the wilds of Lewisham, SE London, I seem always to have had a love for the great outdoors. Giving up the London commute at 28, we spent twelve years in the Lake District and then moved to Lincolnshire. Two small businesses later, I’ve now retired to run our mini wildlife garden, walk our dog and pick up people’s litter.

At the time Mark started his series of wishes for a future after Coronavirus, I had started reading a book that I had somehow missed. Written in 2017 by an author I was aware of, I don’t know how I missed it but I am so glad I did, because it seems as if it were written yesterday. Quite spooky in fact as she talks of the next great shock or the racism of the police.

No is Not Enough, by Naomi Klein has made an impression on me that I wanted to share.
It encompasses so many of the feelings, worries and fears that I have held for years.
At the end of the book she finishes by saying thank you to Trump for holding a mirror up to us all. And let’s be clear, Trump is not an American problem, he is a world problem.
In fact, he is where we have been heading for all my life. He is the culmination of years of corporate greed, of political kowtowing, of disrespect for the planet and its peoples.
And we helped put him there.

Naomi brings her past books and decades of study together to show us how we got here. With all her experience, she was still shocked that Americans had actually done it. Actually voted him in. Albeit that Clinton won more votes. Go figure as they would say.

She shows us that for each and every shock the world faces, the result is always the same. The rich get richer, the rest of us, the 99% of us, have to fund their wealth. And we have to accept, remain silent. Accept their unending lies and manipulation. Their wars and racism, their pollution.

And it will be exactly the same after this world shock. Already we are seeing billionaires with their hands out. We are seeing huge corporations paying out the money awarded to them go straight to shareholders, while small businesses go bust and put more workers onto the streets. Thank you Branson, thank you Tesco.
But is this inevitable, is there another way? Naomi believes so, and actually, so do I.

While governments of all colours continue to ignore us, while our larger NGOs get more remote and forget why we pay them, there are small signs everywhere you look of a fight back beginning.

Three Davids get together to fight a Goliath and call themselves Wild Justice. It could only ever work if others wanted it too. If there were so many disillusioned people out there that they would have support. Well it is working. It’s working because we want it to, need it to. Now there is also Crowd Justice, equally well supported.

What if a young journalist takes a chance to write stories nobody else want to publish.
Thank you and good luck Sophie. Imagine a former grouse moor being rewilded. Could Langholm really get enough support? Well Carrifran did 20 years ago.
Who would have thought that so many people would turn up at a reservoir to support Hen Harriers and a ban on driven grouse shooting.

Love them or hate them, petition sites are everywhere, giving individuals a collective voice. More and more young people are standing up for nature, seeing the pollution and destruction and saying they want a different world. Not a difference as represented by Trump or Biden, Johnson or Corbyn, a British government or a European government, but a real difference.

Naomi uses the word Utopia. Bit hippy? But why not? We can all have a dream can’t we? Why aim low and miss when we could aim high and start a process. A greener future, a future where people care more about each other and are kinder to each other.

This shock, the virus, has shown that people can be kind and can care. Can’t we build on that while dismantling our present world of greed.

Saturday Guardian has a wonderful photo. It shows thousands of young people of all races marching to banish racism. The same route many of us walked not so long ago for wildlife. They were walking despite the danger of contagion because they instinctively know that the disease we face at the moment is nothing compared to the disease we have inflicted on our planet and it’s peoples. Yes, black lives matter. All lives matter. Racism exists because it suits the 1%. Many wars can be directly linked to the price of oil. Wars suit the 1%. Boom and bust financial cycles are a disaster for us all, except the 1%.
Green does not suit the 1%. Ever.

The world’s refugees are caused by greed. Our greed. And guess what, these refugees don’t actually want to be refugees. Why would they want to leave their homelands, their culture. Would you? They leave because of wars caused by politicians and BAE and Exxon and BP. They leave because we have desiccated their lands causing untold famine. They leave because of the 1%.

2.5 billion people on this planet do not have access to a toilet. Even our modern, small two bedroom houses are now expected to have two. This planet has more than enough water for everybody. The fact that desalination has always proved too expensive to consider is now disappearing fast. Solar could be the answer if we wished it to be. But we would have to give up a little so that others could drink fresh water. Would we do that? Would it be too much to ask that our 1% pay a little more in tax so our brothers could exist.

Would you be willing to pay a few pence more for your tea, coffee and chocolate?
For your tyres and batteries? For all your food that is produced under horrendous conditions abroad? Visit plastico land near Almeria in Spain for the truth of that. Something to think about when eating your next tomato from trusted Sainsbury’s.
Would you be prepared to eat a little less meat?

The journey to a fairer world, Utopia, will be a long one so we had better get started. Don’t count on the politicians that can only think in five year terms. Don’t count on billionaires that could but won’t. Don’t count on the media owned by the 1%.
These are the people that told you cigarettes are good for you, that diesel is good for the planet. That your holiday of a lifetime won’t kill whales. That plastic will break down.
That nuclear is safe. That covered the known facts of a future pandemic. That the Second World War was the end of all wars.

The people that dig fossil fuels are the fossils which we must stop trusting. The same people that invented and use tax havens.
The same people that invited West Indians over in the fifties and sixties to help run our transport, health and postal services and then wanted to send their kids back.
The same people that see a tower block burn to the ground and then won’t find the money to replace the same cladding on other blocks. Those tower blocks didn’t house the 1%.
Politicians will tell you that it will all be alright by 2050. Thirty years.
WE HAVEN’T GOT THIRTY YEARS.

We can start by getting rid of labels made up specifically to cause division.
I don’t want to talk of blacks, Muslims, gays, disabled, Jews, disadvantaged. What about starting to use one label for the lot. How about Humans.

Last year, on this blog I read the saddest sentence. In a discussion about everybody doing their bit. A commenter said ‘if every one does a little, only a little ever gets done’.
That’s wrong. Just plain wrong.
Try it yourself. Try picking up one piece of litter. I guarantee that you will see another piece and pick that up also. Try volunteering for just one hour, one day. You will go back.
You will actually feel good about doing it. Buy one issue of The Big Issue. You will do so again. And the guy sleeping in the shop doorway, buy him a sandwich. Bet you also do that again. Why, because you will feel good and want that feeling again. It’s called being human. Scary at first, but you will soon get used to it. Promise.

So, it turns out that I would like a lot to be different after the virus. Me and Naomi Klein.
Oh, and a lot of young people around the world. How about joining them?
We all need to breath.

For further information, read the book. No is not enough.

If you would like to have a go at writing a guest blog on a thing that you would like to be different then please take notice of these general guidelines for guest blogs and send it to me at mark@markavery.info for consideration. I’ll give priority to offers that relate to the natural environment, and/or to those that are well-written (IMHO).

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4 Replies to “Guest blog – Things I would like to be different by Paul Fisher”

  1. Absolutely brilliant, Paul - thank-you. I may have to get in touch via Mark to ask if I can quote you - and I will order Naomi Klein right now - not from amazon but from an independent bookseller.

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    1. Bit late back to this Nonie but by all means, quote away. If I can introduce one other person to her books, job done. Sandra’s recommendation below is her latest book. Treat yourself and buy both, you won’t regret it.

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  2. Naomi Klein is well worth reading. Of her books my favourite, if one can apply such a word to challenging and forensic writing, is 'This Changes Everything'. Well done Paul for drawing attention to her publications.

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