November 2018

Riding The Reset Button Constantly

Raman Jokhakar
Editor

Twelve full moons have passed, and so have 360 sunrises as I write this. Holidays and observances have gone by! Chartered Accountants are known to keep burning the mid night oil to meet deadlines after deadlines. The year is over, Sir! It is already Diwali.

 

Time has flown by, to never return. Time is invisible, touching all there is. Time is a temptress – every day looks like another day – but it really isn’t! The Sanskrit word for time is Kaala. The word Kaala shares its root with the Sanskrit words for death and black. Perhaps they all – time, black and death – represent that which absorbs everything to a point of no return to its original state. This Editorial therefore focuses on something to ponder around the New Year.

 

Yuval Noah Harai in his latest book – 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – writes about three threats staring at humans – Technology, Nuclear War and Climate Change. A compelling new vision is not coming through in our fragmented world order – from political, business or spiritual sides. How connected and how evolved we are and yet how fragmented and shallow are some of our actions. Take the recent Living Planet Report 2018. It tells a tale of what humans have done so far to life around them. Homo sapiens have destroyed 95% of all species that have ever come to this planet; since 1970, 60% of all wildlife that existed then is extinct by manmade causes. Yet we are going on as if it is business as usual. While we are focused on a $80 trillion world economy (or whatever that number is), Nature gives us services worth $125 trillion per year. Some of what humans do is not just cruel, but outright stupid too. No other creature goes on a binge to destroy itself like humans. The word Amazon brings an image of the online retail store these days, but 20% of the real Amazon (forest) got wiped out in the last 20 years! Guess what – consumption has played a big part in it. In other words: Amazons kill Amazon. By Amazons, I mean the entire economic chain that entices us to consume. All that we got and all that we need has its source in Nature. Just imagine the pressure humans put on the planet – since circa 1800 the global population has grown 7 times and Economic growth has been 444 times. Reading the report made me wonder how misplaced our tools of measurement and epistemology of growth are. We are moving fast but in the reverse gear!

 

On the other hand there is good news. A new generation is re-shaping a messed up planet – it does not want to own, does not need more and so it does not consume like a maniac. This generation gets free news from the internet, sources free books online1, believes in solar and wind energy2, they are creating a sharing economy3. While the last generation bought toys for their kids, this generation borrows toys from an online platform and tells their children to take care of them, so that other children after them will be able to play with them. This promise of change from ownership and possession to sharing and circular economy – is a change in human thinking that challenges present economic laws, legal structures, ideas of nations and rancid belief systems. As one author writes, Geopolitics will be replaced with a biosphere consciousness4. This silent transition will replace consumerism by sustainability, capital by social capital, and being rich by being valuable.

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1    Even the E Book share has nearly doubled in last 5 years to 25% of total book sales.

2  Germany’s share of solar power is 7.5% of total consumption and India 2.2%. China has added solar assets like never before – 43,530 MW in 2015 to 131,000 MW in 2017. 

3  Statistics say that sharing economy can eliminate 80% vehicles. Additionally, they will be replaced by EV and perhaps driverless cars.

4   Refer ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’ by Jeremy Rifkin.

 

Exclusivity is substituted by inclusivity; a pyramid structure is giving way to open source. People are realising that forest fires, floods, landslides have a connection with hamburger and the beef5  in it. Simply speaking, many are finding out that everything is interconnected and all that we do intimately affects someone else and will boomerang back to us. 

 

End of 2016, I decided that through 2017 I won’t buy anything for myself (except food) – like fasting on most forms of consumption. I could manage. As we march into the New Year: let us consider to Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. As we begin the New Year let us consider offering back to the planet because if it is not YOU then who and if is not NOW, then when?

New Year means new beginnings – a cut-off to draw up a balance sheet of life and revisit the reset button and stay at the beginning. As Jim Carrey puts it: “…Now I am always at the beginning. I have a reset button. And I ride that button constantly”. This festive season BCAJ wishes you and your family the very best to ride that reset button whenever you need it all through a wonderful New Year!

 

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5   The second biggest cause of climate change supposedly is methane emissions from animals. Popular beef requires 28 times more land than chicken and pork, 11 times more water, and results in 5 times more climate warming emissions. Compared to potatoes, wheat and rice: impact of beef per calorie is 160 times more land and 11 times more green house gases.

 

 Raman Jokhakar

Editor




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