”Covid has given us a unique opportunity to solve the climate crisis”
Read an excerpt from a brand-new book on how the current pandemic can pave way for the transition to a more sustainable economic system.
”A chicken can’t lay a duck egg”, written by Grame Maxton and Bernice Maxton-Lee is a brand-new book on how covid-19 could actually be a very good thing for the climate.
Graeme Maxton, author of several acclaimed books on climate change, is an Advisory Board Member on the UN’s Energy Pathways Project, and was previously Secretary General of the Club of Rome.
Bernice Maxton-Lee is a former director of the Jane Goodall Institute. She lectures on climate change and deforestation at the Technical University in Vienna and is a Research Associate at ETH University in Zurich.
But first, a few words from the authors:
”The title of our book is inspired by the words of 1960s human rights advocate Malcolm X.
When he said “a chicken can’t lay a duck egg”, he meant that a system can only do what it is designed for. A chicken can only lay a chicken’s egg. It can’t lay a duck egg.
He meant that a system which creates racism and injustice can’t do anything else. To solve these problems requires a different system.
In exactly the same way, the current economic system can only create rising short term profits and ever more growth. That’s its heartbeat. It can’t slow the pace of climate change or fix humanity’s environmental problems because it’s not designed to do that. To solve humanity’s ecological challenges requires a different system.
Our book argues that the transition to a more sustainable economic system has been made easier by the emergence of the coronavirus. The pandemic has shown that it is possible to shut damaging businesses overnight and quickly cut greenhouse gas emissions. It has also shown that it is possible for governments to pay people during times of change.
So, rather than seeing the current economic slowdown as a problem, people should view it instead as the greatest chance for radical social change in decades. Instead of bailing-out polluting firms, governments should take the chance to close them. Rather than boosting economic growth, societies should downsize and build an economic system that can coexist with nature. Governments should introduce a basic income for all and retrain people to work in the sectors which will be needed: materials recovery, emissions capture, repairing, sharing, and recycling. To pay for this, they can print money, just as they did after the 2008 crash. The risk of bankruptcy will be much easier to handle than runaway climate change.
Covid-19 also gives nations a unique opportunity to work together, to create a more sustainable future for all. It is the only way they will eradicate the virus and respond to climate change effectively.
Whatever happens, the failures of the current economic system, the impact of climate change, and the planet’s other environmental troubles will force radical change on societies soon, whether they want it or not. Covid-19 offers humanity the chance to choose a better path.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Graeme Maxton is the author of seven internationally acclaimed books on climate change, economics, and the automotive industry, which have been published in more than 20 languages. He is an Advisory Board Member on the UN’s Energy Pathways Project, and of Population Matters. He was previously Secretary General of the Club of Rome and a Regional Director with the Economist Group.
A former director of the Jane Goodall Institute, Bernice Maxton-Lee lectures on climate change and deforestation at the Technical University in Vienna, is a Research Associate at ETH University in Zurich and teaches communications and presentation skills in Taipei. She is also the author of “Forest Conservation and Sustainability in Indonesia”, which was published in 2020.