If we’re going to change the world – and we’ll do this together, with me taking the credit – we can tolerate neither wishi nor washiness. We need to get specific and measurable, like if Gandhi was more focused on KPIs. We need to turn our good intentions into goals, our goals into anger, our anger into suffering, and our suffering into a series of humanity-saving global revolutions. We need a plan.
The environment’s top of the list, obviously. There’s no point fussing over the state of the few billion humans knocking about the planet if the planet’s shrivelled up and dying, or drowning us in rising seawater or freezing us to death in the ice age we started. We need to fix global inequality, on account of how some of us are living large while others are literally starving to death. We need to fix gender inequality, racism and the whole bunch of other inequalities, isms and phobias we’ve cooked up for ourselves. We need to stop the worst of capitalism killing people or screwing them over or keeping them poor so we can bag a bargain on our second backup lemon zester. We need to be better to the animals we’re sharing this place with, including, specifically, not killing them all the time and eating their bodies and everything.
And we need to be active in all of this. We need to recognise our place in the thing, figuring the changes we can make in our own lives, the changes we can encourage in people around us, and how we go about getting the bigger societal changes we need from our lizard-alien overlords.
Here’s what we’ve got and how we’re going to get there:
We’ll get ourselves a world that isn’t all wrecked and polluted and Mad Maxed to all fuck. A world that isn’t a post-apocalyptic hole, all sharks swimming round Times Square and people trading dirt like gold.
We’ll be to the environment what Ron Howard is to cinema: We’ll have absolutely no impact.
As a species we’ll end our dependence on polluting fuels and energy sources, quit using non-recyclable single-use plastics for unnecessary bollocks, and progress to only renewable energy sources and sustainable materials. Together we’ll avert the actual apocalypse we’re very definitely heading for.
We’ll reduce our own energy and materials use, switch to renewable energies and sustainable materials, and recycle ‘til we can’t recycle no more. We’ll reduce our share of global emissions, stick new trees in the ground to counter other people’s, and join campaigns to convert everyone to our way of thinking.
We want a world in which no one is starving or shitting themselves to death while others are quaffing unicorn blood and wiping their arses with gold leaf bog roll. Which is what’s happening currently.
We’ll not be first world arseholes.
As a species we’ll actually care about the rest of the species, ending water poverty, educational poverty and yer regular kind of no-money poverty because we can already do all of these things, we just haven’t bothered to yet.
If we’re first-worlders, we’ll give a bunch of money to charities working on access to water, education, food and contraception, and on actual prevention of preventable diseases. And we’ll maybe overthrow capitalism and eat the rich if that’s where this thing takes us. We’ll see how it plays out.
The whole pack of other inequalities
We’ll get a world with equal opportunity for everyone, in which racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other assorted isms and phobias have all fucked off out of it, and everyone’s just living and letting live.
We’ll be anti-discriminatory, massive-gobbed moral crusaders, allies to everyone everywhere.
As a species we’ll finally cover the most basic of basics, getting the vote for women everywhere, getting marriage equality everywhere, making black lives matter everywhere. We’ll undo every horrific thing we’ve thought of since we shook off our gills and started screwing each other over.
We’ll challenge bigoted twats in person and online, going after them like Uncle Buck giving that headteacher a doing. We’ll make the world as hostile to them as they’ve made it for the others they’ve Othered.
The shittiest end of the capitalist stick
We want a world in which people don’t screw over other people for money. We want to be done with slavery and trafficking and sweatshops and horrific working conditions and lousy living conditions. We want yer basic, entry-level humanity for every basic human being.
We’ll stop turning our blind eyes. We’ll no longer be complicit in screwing people over for the things we buy, find, borrow, inherit or steal.
As a species we’ll rejig our thinking about money being more important than people, so in the future we’ll look back on this era of sweatshops the way we now look back on slavery. To be clear: we’ll think it was bad.
We’ll avoid the worst corporate offenders, buy Fairtrade while awaiting the coming revolution, and campaign for changes in working conditions and the abolition of both modern and old-school slavery.
We’ll get ourselves a world in which animals aren’t kept and tortured and killed for food because there are plenty of alternatives, and where they aren’t tortured and tested on for makeup and shampoo because it’s fucking makeup and shampoo.
We’ll be all peaceful and shit. We won’t kill cows anymore. Or murder sheep. We won’t stab ducks, or happy-slap donkeys. We won’t burgle dolphins or sexually harass penguins. And we won’t get people to do it for us.
As a species we’ll reach a global attitudinal change to animal welfare and kindness and basic decency. And we’ll see the benefits of plant-based edibles, and progress stem cell research so we can get eating cruelty-free future-meat as soon as possible because God damn do I miss it. Oh God, the taste! The flavour!
We’ll reduce our weird dependence on meat, milk, eggs, cheese and other dairyness as we tip-toe towards the living hell of veganism. We’ll join campaigns to demolish animal testing and convert other people to vegetarianism and veganism, but not pescatarianism because what would be the point?
We will do this! We will do all of this and more! Or maybe some of it and less. It’s a pretty big list, looking at it now. It’s quite intimidating.
Photo credit: The Zero
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We’ll be sceptical, not cynical. Knowledgeable, not knee-jerking. And thorough, not breezy or fun or anything even slightly appealing.
Onward to independence, somehow
The Equality Act (2010) demands people make reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of those with disabilities and long-term illnesses. What I’m saying is, Long Covid’s still giving me a doing so you’re legally obliged to pretend this post-election hot take was published about three weeks ago.
Green Scotland/Little England
The Scottish Parliament elections are coming up on the 6th May, and even those of us still slobbing around with Long Covid can do something actually useful: We can vote to make a ton of progress on a whole bunch of things, and take steps towards ending Tory cruelty forever.
Victory! After four years of outrage and misery, five days chewing my nails down past the knuckles, and four nights sleeping so fitfully I thought maybe post-election panic was a cure for Long Covid lethargy, we got the motherfucker: Donald Trump got beat.
Red alert: Vote blue!
In the wide world of general do-goodery there is, at present, an opportunity to right an absolute shit-ton of wrongs and restore a small bit of order and decency to a smaller bit of the universe: Voting Donald Trump the fuck out of office.
When last we met, back in mid-lockdown May, I was banging on about Covid knackering my attempts to do a bit of the old ultra-activism. As I said back then, if ever there was a time for some proper solid do-gooding it’s in the middle of a deadly pandemic. What I didn’t anticipate about this particular deadly pandemic is that I would be personally attacked by the motherfucker.
I decided to spend ten days off my tits with fever, and then most of March struggling to breathe, and then half of April self-isolating while I downgraded my cough from persistent to lingering to socially awkward. It’s been frustrating. But I’ve been up and about for a few weeks now, and the old nagging feeling that I should be doing more is kicking back in.
I was a true believer back when the allegations first hit. I loved Michael Jackson with the bone-deep intensity only teenagers get to feel, when music feels important. When it feels tribal. When the heavy metal mob splits from the goths, when the indie kids look down on manufactured pop fans. I spent the next couple of years in second-hand record stores, car boot sales and memorabilia fairs building a collection so obsessive it could have scored me a diagnosis and a decent whack of DLA.
Vote. Campaign. Donate. Win.
Well… We lost the fuck out of that one, didn’t we? After Christine Blasey Ford’s heroic testimony, after Jeff Flake’s ego-driven dithering, after a week of two Republicans pretending to struggle with the ethics of the thing, we had Trump mocking Dr Ford while his disciples laughed uproariously.
And so to the latest reason for perma-outrage in this hellish, goatee-filled darkest-timeline in which that sorry bastard is occupying the White House and people like him are swagging around with their racism and misogyny proudly on show: the Kavanaugh hearings.