Stupid is as stupid does – the sequel

This is my reply to my friend and her son Jack’s email after watching ‘Age of Stupid’


Dear Heather

          Thanks for your reply in which you say “I was hoping it would inspire him into taking more of an interest; however, as you rightly say he couldn’t escape fast enough, although you never know some of the information may come back to him in the future”

          My contention is that we have to bring the One Planet Equation into the education system, including libraries, as the primary driver,  to start to find creative ways to solve it now, not that Jack can compare his current circumstances with the film’s predictions as he gets older.

The facts are stark but we ignore them at our peril, and ‘Age of Stupid ‘ failed to address this. Much was made of the plight of much of humanity but the reality is that even if many die, they will not be the ones, consuming most of the resources in the near term.

So if we assume that because of whatever causes, the global population stays at 6 billion by 2055 and we want, or can control growth at even modest rates in India and China at say 5%, much less than even now in the current turmoil.

Then the One Planet Equation 1 = P x C x I moves from now 1 = 1 x 1 x 1 to 1 = 1 x 1.0545 x I2055 (the new resource intensity required = 1/1.0545)

Note, this is the same as investing £1 for 45 years at a compound interest of 5% = 8.9

This says that, in a resource constrained world we must reduce the resource intensity of the goods and services we consume per unit of consumption per capita by a factor of around ten and probably more, as this analysis assumes we are not exceeding the earth’s limits at the moment.

Expressed this way it is clear what we need to do (although it doesn’t show us how). But expressed this way it is a clarion call, a challenge and an adventure, not a vain cry in the wilderness.

Perhaps expressed this way, Jack and his peers, with our help and support can balance the equation before the Earth does.

Critically it is not primarily about wind turbines, light bulbs and separating waste but about how we organise our societies to continually reduce the losses they generate, starting with how we govern ourselves to enable proactive action and continual improvement.



see also


One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s