It’s obscene that the super-rich can criminalise protest, while they burn the world’s resources and remain untouched by the law
Don’t they have children? Don’t they have grandchildren? Don’t rich and powerful people care about the world they will leave to their descendants? These are questions I’m asked every week, and they are not easy to answer. How can we explain a mindset that would sacrifice the habitable planet for a little more power or a little more wealth, when they have so much already?
There are many ways in which extreme wealth impoverishes us. The most obvious is money-spreading across our common ecological space. The recent reporting by Oxfam, the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Guardian gives us a glimpse of how much of the planet the very wealthy now sprawl across. The richest 1% of the world’s people burn more carbon than the poorest 66%, while multibillionaires, running their yachts, private jets and multiple homes, each consume thousands of times the global average. You could see it as another colonial land grab: a powerful elite has captured the resources on which everyone depends.
George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist
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