If you also thought 2020 was the worse year ever1, you could be in for a surprise in 2021, but there is hope.
If corona taught me anything was “don’t hope, but be and act”.
This year will definitely be remembered as the year of the corona virus pandemic, which has monopolized public and media attention and by now has officially killed almost two millions people2. While some people smarter have warned3 for some time about the dangers of a global pandemic, this past year has clearly shown that we were not prepared to handle such an event, physically or economically - to some extent we still aren’t, and people have the habit to forget rapidly bad experiences. The new UK corona virus strain4 might put an extra stress on an already stretched medical system in the coming months.
There is hope with the vaccines, which thanks to science have been developed in record time. But, until a good percentage of the population (like 70%) gets vaccinated (not likely very soon due to lack of infrastructure for the “high tech” ones5, the unknowns of the “cheaper” ones6 and vaccine skepticism), the disease might have already run its course, and (hopefully) might become just a common cold7, which by the way we might not catch this year thanks to COVID-198.
Until then, follow the official recommendations9 and stay in shape.
If ecosystems degraded at an unprecedented rate in 201910, well, corona did not stop the trend of humans exploiting and destroying nature11. I mean look - Stihl, the chainsaw manufacturer, is posting record business with double digit growth this year12.
And, guess what will happen once this corona pandemic is over? There will be a blow off in traveling and consumption, to recover from this “lost” year. This will likely bring the next pandemic upon us sooner, than later13.
We need not only to stop the accelerated destruction of our environment, but restore damaged systems. There are solutions. Watch David Attenborough’s “A Life on Our Planet” on Netflix to get some ideas.
Global warming, still in a good place, did not get scared by COVID-1914 either. Greenhouse concentrations, a direct consequence of human activity, reached new highs:
The solution is simple and at hand - (much) less of everything is more15. But, tell that to Joe after this year of “deprivation”.
While many have suffered from job loss and salary cuts during this pandemic year, the richest have become even richer16. Primarily, thanks to central banks and governments, who have pumped liquidity, literally trillions17, into the markets trying to prop up a consumerism and debt based system. A system, that might lead us into environmental oblivion, unless it destroys itself beforehand.
The governments’ interventions might have offered a buffer to affected economic branches, but what happens when they will end? They won’t, we are addicted, and they will “print”18 and prefer taking the “easier” exit via inflation, rather than acknowledging an unsustainable system. This is somehow already priced in, in assets like Gold19, Bitcoin20 and lumber21, or stocks which have reached all time highs this past year, in the worse economic crash ever. The trend is likely to continue, with a pinch of volatility.
Boy, one has to wonder how crippled our financial system is, to basically having to hedge it with assets like bitcoin22 or gold, with such a high cost for the environment…
The mantra here - “more, more, more”. The markets are cheering up along the way.
We have global issues, which require global interventions (boy, I might be turning into a globalist), but there are divergent interests as there are people on this planet. So buckle up for 2021, we could be in for a ride.