Tuesday, November 21, 2017


The real issue is political.  Climate change is a concern that affects everyone, but still there is resistance.  As Al Gore points out "In order to address the environmental crisis, we're going to have to spend some time fixing the democracy crisis."  The subtitle "Truth to Power" is generally interpreted to speak truth to power and Gore bring up another aspect from Gandhi that the word "Satyagraha," a strong force in his efforts means "truth force."  Truth has a force all its own.

During the Zika scare a suggestion of "don't get pregnant " was made in parts of the United States.  This crisis, as with other tropical diseases spreading was a direct result of global warming.

"An Inconvenient Truth" was criticized for projections of water hitting the World Trade Center Memorial, however less than a decade later it actually happened.  Gore pointed out that drought in Syria, its worst in over 900 years forced the closure of many farms and many immigrants to the cities where many were unemployed.  One of many factors leading to a civil war.

When I first researched this movie I checked as usual with IMDB and they had a rating of 5.8 which is normally where I avoid actually watching a movie.  I had seen "An Inconvenient Truth" and felt not only did it tell a valuable story but did so in a professional manner.  How could the rating be so low?  One commenter noted that there were an unusual amount of 1 star ratings and easily I could see a lot of negative comments.  This is only one example of organized efforts to deny climate change.

A common criticism is that the messenger is hypocritcal and greedy.  I would say Al Gore looks like a wealthy man and is able to travel wherever he likes.  Nobody listens much to scientists or poor people  He has found a mission and a purpose.  This movie certainly has an egotistical slant, but Al Gore rightly sees himself in a critical role in a crucial issue.  The Supreme Court decided he would not be president--in reality a lot of corrupt political opposition played a big role (voter suppression, electoral college, big money disinformation).  Just before the pivotal election Gore had succeeded in getting funding for a satellite that would observe the earth with regard to climate change, but after the Republicans took over the funding was ended.

At the Paris Climate Conference he helped bring together an American industrialist, with the Environmental Minister for India.  India was planning to build a large number of coal based generating plants and when they thought of switching some to solar powered were told the interest rates would be beyond their means.  Al Gore helped remedy that obstacle.

When scanning the world it is easy to become aware of an increase in the severity of storms, droughts and forest fires.  Insurance companies are well aware of the risks and are making adjustments.

Nature speaks loudly and scientists are better able to interpret.  Still vested interests have a powerful platform that slants opinions.  Although the average person is becoming more sympathetic to the need to do something, politicians listen more to their rich and powerful donators.  The problem might be summarized that renewable energy is a disruptive innovation that threatens established fossil fuel businesses; read more http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2013/03/the-innovators-dilemma.html

The movie was directed by the husband/wife team of Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk both of whom also worked with "The Island President" that I had seen recently about the environment.  Music written by Jeff Beal who also wrote the theme for "House of Cards."

Donald Trump will be a blot on American history for many reasons, but his opportunist attitude on climate change will be a primary reason.  Not all Americans voted for him and many others sat out, but it still reflects very poorly on the American electorate.  Although there is increasing awareness of climate change there is a lot of highly financed opposition.  The more people see this film the sooner that opposition will be overcome hopefully soon enough.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The 100 Year life--how to make the most of it

Lynda Gratton got my attention with "The Shift" that contained a lot of provocative ideas, but as important had a unique presentation.  Trying to predict the future is a bit dangerous, but she developed a format that was helpful--she used fictional scenarios, but adjusted variables ranging from best to worst likelihood.  Here is a link for my review of her well worth reading book that is consistent with her latest endeavor.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2012/04/shift.html  I felt "The Shift" was the best book read in that year.

With "the 100 Year Life" she with co- author Andrew Scott are venturing onto new territory.  Longer life.  It is futuristic because it is still rare for humans to survive 100 years, but you may start to notice it is becoming more common  A great opportunity, but not without problems.

As in "The Shift" Lynda uses fictional characters to illustrate her points.  The first character born about the same time as me, like me has stumbled through life and with a little luck is set for a normal retirement.  The second character is younger and with a longer life expectancy and financial stresses will have to make adjustments.  Her third character, a younger girl knows she has a longer life expectancy and has to prepare for it well in advance.

The first concern for individuals is how to finance a retirement.  At one time few made it to retirement.  With life expectancy creeping up to 100 we have to consider how we can afford to live that long.  The two main ideas are to work longer and/or save more

At the same time the job situation is changing.  Technology threatens us in many ways.  The authors see some hope.

The authors see a need for people to change their job skills over the years.  Education can help, but needs to be flexible.  A long life with jobs can place stress on relationships and the authors believe everyone will need to spend time cultivating networks and to maintain intimate relationships.  It is important to realize that your reputation is your brand and that will be critical to make transitions.

With a long life and uncertain job prospects it is wise to keep consumption levels low as they tend to be maintained.  At times individuals will have to transition and will have to curb their spending.  Deferring gratification will be critical to learn new skills.

The core belief is that society will no longer function on the three stage life cycle of education then work then retirement.  The book is full of ideas of how to rethink the opportunities as well as the problems.

It is expected that there will be resistance from corporations and government.  The changes are most likely to come from people at the grassroots level.  What is needed is not just pension reform, but more flexibility.  We stand to not only allow more people a more enjoyable satisfying life but also to break down age barriers and segregation.  Part time education will increase to meet the demands of an ever changing economy.  The authors feel workers will have to not only develop specialized skills, but would also benefit for a liberal education that would encourage flexibility.

Many years ago I read the prologue to George Bernard Shaw's "Back to Methusalah" where he contended that if people lived much longer they would learn to organize government better and avoid violence.  Andrew and Lynda contend that issues like climate change will take a different perspective when we realize we and our children will have to live with the environment.

The authors admonish young people to get out to vote.  They are the ones who have the most years ahead of them and they need to be represented by people who understand the issues that help more people to be empowered by a longer life.

If you are younger than 50 this is a critical read for you.  If you are over 50 it is very useful to understand trends and survive more comfortably.  For more thoughts go to www.100yearlife.com