Cuenca High Life logo

Expat Life

Life after Covid: Are we strong enough to confront the lies we tell ourselves?

Are we seeing reality or illusions in the bubbles of our lives?

By John Keeble

Do you think you can turn the clock back? Or even make it stand still? Stupid questions. Of course, you can’t. But then, why are big businesses, political leaders and some nations intent on doing it?

This is a big issue in the Covid-19 recovery. Do we turn the clock back to benefit the profit-takers, or demand a fair, sustainable future for today’s children and tomorrow’s generations.

Not that the dangers to the present and future were not known before the epidemic put life on hold for most of us. We knew political extremism, climate change and pollution were threatening us all. It is just that we have had the time and enforced leisure to see through some of the lies we tell ourselves about those issues.

Sure, coping with the effects of Covid-19 is the obvious elephant in our rooms but, for many, the invisible herd of elephants have gradually lost their invisibility.

Where are you on that journey? Still parroting “fake news”? Seeing the declining condition of the planet but determined to get whatever you want? Seeing the dangers ahead and asking what we can do? Planning to do something to protect your children, grandchildren and future generations? Determined to fight for a clean, fair, sustainable world?

Worldwide, people are rejecting the killer processes that belong to the past.

One of the big questions is whether we, as individuals, can do anything about problems like rampant economic growth, pollution, climate change, poverty, moral sickness played out at political and national levels, and the appalling abuse and destruction of our fellow animals.

The lies we tell ourselves: “I can’t do anything about it, I’m just one person.”

That is just an excuse. It simply is not true. You make a difference in voting for forward-looking leaders, supporting planet- and people-protecting projects and changes, in what you choose to consume, how you live your life, what you teach your children and grandchildren, whether you are willing to stand up to be counted against moral wickedness like unfair access to health care and the imprisonment of children.

Don’t duck out of your choices and responsibilities with that old “I’m just one person” cop-out. Assert your right to shape the future.

Economic growth, business expansion, and increasing personal wealth and comfort have been central to our existence in the past – and getting back to those priorities, without any rein to protect the planet or  the vulnerable, is exactly the kind of “winding the clock back” that will lead to disaster when Covid-19’s grip has eased.

Simply expressed, we are consuming hugely too much of the planet’s resources and damaging our life-dependent environment far beyond its ability to recover without putting us out of its misery.

Catastrophic weather events, especially hurricanes and floods, are increasing as we heat the planet.

Such clear risks to the people of today and the future are being ignored by nations determined to put economic growth first. America’s profit-focused leaders, for example, have steamed ahead with a massive, systematic rolling back of environmental, health and animal abuse laws which have protected Americans and the planet for many decades.

Every nation has to restart its economy and, when it is deemed safe by specialists with training and experience, get people back into work to provide for themselves and their families. It is predictable that some nations, like the U.S. and Brazil, will go backwards with raw economy first and to hell with the price paid by the people and the planet. Others, like Scotland and New Zealand, will be pushing forward with plans to create sustainable economies that will benefit people now and leave a habitable planet for future generations.

The lies we tell ourselves: “Economic growth is the most important thing. We must have growth whatever the cost.”

I see what you mean. Growth at any cost will work for you in the short term. It’s rather like gorging on the seed corn and leaving your children and grandchildren to starve. Growth, and the ideology of everyone having more and more year after year, is wrecking the planet and killing its inhabitants – we are using resources far faster than can be sustained, we are polluting the air to killer levels, we are catastrophically heating the world, and we are poisoning the land and the sea. In this time of forced pause, shouldn’t our leaders be looking for ways forward that will balance our needs and save enough of the world for the children? And shouldn’t we be demanding it?

The greed for meat is destroying the planet.

Part of this “turning the clocks back” syndrome is the use of fossil fuels instead of phasing them out with the development of cheap renewable energy and the replacement of polluting products like plastics.

The lies we tell ourselves: “Fossil fuels are vital.”

We all thought that once, maybe half a century ago, but time has moved on. Everyone now realises the environmentally disastrous consequences of fossil fuels and plastic products – and the blatant disregard by those determined to profit from them. Solar energy growth, despite political opposition by fossil fuel backers, has grown enormously along with other forms of clean energy. Many natural, sustainable replacements for plastics have been offered, including materials made from mushrooms. Shouldn’t we be demanding our governments phase out fossil fuels and pressure other countries to do the same? Shouldn’t we be insisting money is put into clean energy and natural replacements for plastics?

Some of the hardest changes to make relate to our diets. They are such personal habits on which we rely for our health and energy. And it can be difficult to teach old dogs new tricks.

The problem is that many diets, heavy on meat and dairy, are pushing people and the planet into danger areas. Meat and dairy are proven causes of life-threatening illnesses in people, including cancers and diabetes. Now these industries threaten human survival by pushing us into the devastating loss of antibiotics as treatments. Past pandemics, like this one, have started through eating animal products and more pandemics are predicted. And today’s slaughterhouses are “Club Meds” for viruses.

Meat-eating is driving forest clearance and the sixth mass extinction with its demand for more and more land for farm animals, especially cattle. Brazil is clearing Amazon rainforest at record levels while the world’s attention is on Covid-19.  The meat industries are causing massive emissions of planet-warming gases and poisoning rivers and seas with their effluence. The greed for meat is a key cause of food inequality by consuming 75% of the world’s farmlands to grow crops to feed to farm animals.

Increasing protests against all this – along with growing adoption of plant-based diets – is being met by a determined meat industry driving down costs with mega growing centres where animals live through nightmare conditions before being violently slaughtered and processed. In the U.S., forward thinkers like Senator Elizabeth Warren are supporting a bill to phase out factory farming by 2040, while the UK is shamefully allowing the growth of mega centres.

The lies we tell ourselves:  My meat is humanely and hygienically produced.

No. There is nothing humane about violently killing an animal. “Humane” is a weasel word to make you feel better when you buy and eat the profitable product of a cruel and vicious practice. You are supporting industries that are wrecking the planet for future generations, endangering your health, and driving the mass extinction of wildlife and plants. It is time to wean yourself off these dangerous weaknesses and tread the well-worn path into plant-based food. For the benefit of yourself, your grandchildren, the planet, and the poor animals so vilely abused and killed.

There are many urgent issues that we, as a species and as societies, face. Now is the time to think about them before life starts speeding up again.

How do you want the future to unfold? What are you prepared to do about it?

Make up your mind because, if you don’t, there are many profit- and politically-motivated interests ready to turn the clock back to a past with no future.

For more reading …

Here are a few interesting links that touch on points being made in my article. You can find many more by googling your particular interest. Now is the time to research and decide.

Economic growth is an unnecessarily evil

Protections rollback

Dish of the day — disease

Resources going fast

Future pandemics will be worse

Amazon deforestation surges

Your route to saving the planet

Take pandemics off the menu

Natural alternatives to plastics

Rise of mega farms invading the world

Phasing out mega farms by 2040

Green energy overtakes coal

China energy influence grows

Top dogs of 2050

28 thoughts on “Life after Covid: Are we strong enough to confront the lies we tell ourselves?

  1. Bless me Father Keeble for I have sinned?. The Church of Veganism is getting a little old..Awareness works, guilt not so much….

  2. We are not only voters, we are consumers and we have the power and the will to make better choices. And yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!

  3. Free sterilization for anyone who wants it. THIS will help our planet immensely, too.

    1. Yes, population growth is also unsustainable. Most of the developed countries have a zero population growth. The main growth areas are where people don’t have any government services to support them after they can no longer support themselves. They’ll have many children, so the burden is spread out.
      The best way to prevent this would be to lift those countries out of poverty so they can develop a social safety net and the need to have a dozen children won’t be needed..
      Thanks for bringing up the population problem.

  4. The above article is an old rehash….a flash from the past! This could be right out of my experience in the 60’s and 70’s! I visited several communes, led by activists, vegetarians, peace-nics (which I was one). My Ex lived in a commune for years in Colorado! These communal, communities” were filled with people with advanced college and post graduate degrees! They espoused the same things this article is preaching!

    Everyone had the moto….”Live simply, that others can simply life!” Don’t have more than two children, so we decrease the population and consume less of the worlds recourses! They dumpster dived for edible food, after the farmers market closed for the day. Not out of necessity, but by CHOICE.

    I believe the U.S. government is filled with those old activists who would like to see “all people have equal incomes, equal healthcare and equal education.” NO matter what effort a person puts forth. The communes of my day, joined their salaries into one communal pot, distributed by the consensus of the group. Children had equal votes as adults!

    How IS Communism, Socialism working around the world?? You think Cuba, Venezuela and Russia have happy, well adjusted citizens? The depression was “palpable” in my experience.

    You THINK the sacrifices we liberal minded “flower children” of the 60’s made ANY lasting, positive effects on our world? I KNOW It didn’t work. What this is proposing is not “humane”, is unnatural and not humanly sustainable, unless enforced with an Iron Handed dictatorship! Yes, business needs “ethics”. It’s actually TAUGHT in the MBA curriculum!

    You can’t demand or legalize ethics to be performed with human beings. Free will is always a conundrum, isn’t it?

    1. So what makes you different now, why the change of heart? Some of those flower children kept going despite the disappointing initial results. Now they are making a difference.
      I don’t believe anyone wants equality for all, how about minimum standards for everyone. I know, you’ve already tried to equate communism with socialism, the two are very different. Socialism is a better system for levelling the playing field. You can easily go and see the differences for yourself. Just go to Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Norway….. the list is long with countries that have a platform to rise above abject poverty. The US used to be among those countries, if not the best one to rise up from nothing. Now in the US there are working people, yes working people, that live in their cars because they work for billion dollar corporations, Walmart, Amazon….that won’t pay enough to live.. you want socialism, who do you think pays those people the rest that they need to live, we all do. What is wrong with taxing those companies enough to pay the balance that is needed to compensate their own workers enough to live, why should we common, working class carry the weight for them so they can get richer.
      The cure for poverty is more money, not food banks, poverty is the lack of money and nothing else. If you give the poor enough to live they will spend it and stimulate the economy.,. Give it to the rich and they’ll buy stock in emerging markets, give it to corporations and they’ll buy back stock…. You want to make a difference, take a look at countries that are called socialist, and tell me what they are doing wrong…and show me how the US has better way currently.
      The US currently has systems in place that are socialist, Medicare, army navy and Air Force, the interstate highways, social security… All are paid by collecting taxes from all people (excluding the rich that don’t need to pay anything)… there used to be many more , they slowly stripped them away, piece by piece year after year the question you need to ask is, what services do I get from my tax dollars that I give to the government? You do pay taxes….. if you live in Canada for example, the average person makes $55.000/yr and pays 35% in income tax and 13% sales tax. That is more than you pay but if you consider, he has excellent health care, the best infrastructure money can buy, a standard of living that surpasses what you live in the US and a government that everyone trusts. If you add up what you pay out of pocket for just health care and add that to your taxes you are approaching what the average socialist citizen pays in taxes… and they don’t need to carry, or even own a weapon to feel safe..

    2. Spiffy, you have many good and interesting ideas in your post, but perhaps you can use the “edit” function to clear up some of your vocabulary and syntax errors. Perhaps if you read slowly, you will see them for yourself, but if not, I will point them out if you like.

      1. It is so great to have such an expert on these posts that can correct honest mistakes of vocabulary and syntax. You must have been a teacher!!

  5. Thank you John. It is easy to see what change is up against by reading some of the responses here. Which are, typical close minded American propaganda sucking attitudes. But, many in the world agree with your points. Going back to the old ways will kill us, and soon. The old ways were not working. We have a huge opportunity to make real, productive change in the areas of equality, climate change, global healthcare. We vote with our dollars. How and where we spend them as consumers, what organizations we support make a difference. I, for one, look forward to changes, and there is so much to be done. May it be so, and may the new GDP be about the health and happiness of its people, and the health of mother earth. May greed, only the benefit of the few at the expense of the environment and the rest of the people, be what dies and passes away.

    1. Thank you, Cheryl, for your thoughtful and compassionate response. It’s a breath of fresh air on this thread.

  6. Hasn’t anything Louis Bourgeois said to you sunk in? The transition of our species through evolutionary processes is inevitable.

    1. Yes, if you wait for 100,000 years. That is about how long homo sapiens has existed in its present form.

  7. While I agree with your article, I fear this transition will take time to gather a following. My wife has made many vegetarian meals, most were very good and very filling. I found that I was hungry again much quicker than if I killed something for dinner. Once a week is a good starting point… Perhaps these artificial meat products will get better and be more acceptable as time goes on.
    As for alternative energy sources, the key is storage development. We can create enough energy during day light hours, but need to use fossil fuels at night or during windless times.
    While we all know the current situation is unsustainable, most of the older expats here, don’t know any better and have been conditioned to believe the alternatives are lacking and we’ll be giving something up to embrace these technologies. This couldn’t be further from the truth, not only will we be using these new technologies soon, we will be better off, environmentally, physically and emotionally and all while enjoying our veggie burger (once they perfect it).
    The fact of the matter is, we don’t have any option but to start transitioning to these types of systems, like it or not, the alternative is definitely life changing.

  8. One thing vegans don’t seem to take into account is how much land would be needed to be cleared and intensively farmed in order to feed a world of vegans. This means habitats wiped out. Too many species are facing extinction from habitat loss already. Too much fossil fuel would be needed to power the machinery needed to plant, maintain, and harvest vegetable crops. And WAY too many chemicals would be used in order to increase output as well as decrease loss. There’s a cost to ALL of our food, not just the food some deem as morally unjust.

    1. Jeana – You’ll probably need to look into that land usage thing you are concerned about.
      You have it backwards.

      While urban areas take up 3.6% of land in the contiguous united states, and cropland takes up about 20%, but when you combine land used for animal feed and actual grazing land itself, a whopping 41% of US land (nearly 800 million acres) is used to feed farm animals.
      (Bloomberg)

      Next we can talk about water usage and irrigation needed to produce beef if you like.
      Ken March

      https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/is-the-livestock-industry-destroying-the-planet-11308007/

    2. This is true if you’re still feeding livestock, but if everyone is a vegetarian ( won’t happen in our lifetime), then the feed lots can be converted to growing the soya beans we have all grown to love with every meal,,, not to mention all the land currently occupied by the livestock, this too could be converted since it’s no longer required…
      Aren’t you craving a nice thick veggie burger right now?

  9. This is a nicely thought out and written article. Quite thought provoking and clever at the same time.

    Clever? How so, you ask? John Keeble never once mentions, much less admits that he hates trump as much as I do. While I am more overt in my anti-trump rants, he disguises his behind vague generalizations without ever mentioning the orange idiot by name. I’m sure Keeble’s manner will be embraced by those that demand political correctness, but my rage at everything that is trump is so intense that I can’t conceal the anger it creates. Fool trumpistas mistakenly identify this as trump derangement syndrome and a number of us have frequently pointed out that it is not deranged to see trump for what he is———- a pathological/compulsive liar, a misogynist, racist, lacking empathy of any sort, who in no way is even intelligent, much less a stable genius, who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    No, as has been said numerous times before, trump derangement syndrome, while being a very real thing, is not what the trumpistas claim it to be. One more time I will repeat: When a trump supporter cannot see or won’t admit that trump possesses all the traits I just enumerated, that is true trump derangement syndrome.

    If you ever want to see how this is manifest, just read the comments from this bunch of True Believers that post here on Cuenca High Life. Even when confronted with verifiable facts that refute their beliefs, they will cling to those false beliefs just as a man will cling to his “religion”. No matter how many times you correct these people with facts, logic, reason or science, they will be back another day to spew the same deranged beliefs. That, is trump derangement syndrome.

  10. I keep hearing about “climate change”. Could you please define what you mean by that.

  11. Let’s talk mass production of vegetables, toxic chemicals sprayed on the earth, sickened humans and the Corporate Monsanto -Bayer, patent on synthetic seeds and their war on organic farmers! The entire western food system is toxic, and owned by Corporations ….it is a money game for them.

Comments are closed.