What if we did invest – what might it look like?
Future gazing for a moment, what might a decarbonised day-to-day future look like?
Perhaps it will mirror the idealised local communities and thermally efficient homes of Tolkien’s Shire, but with healthcare, home offices, denser living, welfare, and Wi-Fi. And if you’ve got a long journey to take, it’s unlikely you’ll own the vehicle you ride in. You probably won’t be controlling it, there may not even be a human driver, and you may be sharing it with any number of people. Unless it’s an adventure weekend, and you’re going camping, then you might have hired an electric SUV for the family and are picking it up on the edge of town right next to the station.
I imagine such transport-as-a-service that follows you around, on-demand, predicting links and gaps, filing them with all manner of mobility gizmos before you get there, to remove waiting and disruption. And as you leave the city, you drive through solar fields that your council’s holding company invested in to improve your community’s resilience and energy access - the landscape around you mottled with premium horticulture and native forest.
Our small effort in Aotearoa is vital. We don’t ‘have the money’ for the drastic change that is needed - no one does, that’s the point - we’re as entrenched as everyone else. But we can be sure that any money spent will have a great return on investment. So, in that sense, we can afford it. Our job now is to expose this logic to capital and enable its transition.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it’s the potential of the nation-state and that a team of five million can make a difference. We can de-risk and direct capital flows into new economies and markets to break barriers, create barriers, and mobilise a whole new set of social norms. It’s a scary thought, but what’s more frightening is the catastrophic climate change that will come if we don’t direct every dollar spent to our decarbonised options; now.