“How dare you” (all)

Luca Silipo
5 min readOct 4, 2019

There is a simplification at the core of the inability of the global society to act firmly on climate change. It is the fault of corporations — it is said — that continue to pursue profits. It is the fault of governments — it is also said — that protect their vested interests.

These are shortcuts that procrastinate real action. The sooner we realise this, the better our chances to escape the human extinction Greta Thunberg evoked during her emotional speech in New York, last month.

A screen capture from the app “Flightradar 24”. My first reaction to this is: “Why”?

Observe the photo above. At any moment, above our heads fly 15,000 commercial jets, with 85% being passenger services. Let’s say they each carry an average of 90 people, excluding airline personnel. So at any time, there are approximately 1.15m people in the air.

Statistics I have obtained privately from one of the top consulting firms, suggest that only 25% of people flying above our heads now are doing so for business reasons. 10% fly to attend religious rites and events. 25% are visiting friends are relatives. The remaining 40% — almost 450,000 people — are traveling for pure leisure.

Some of them — a relatively large share — visit the beautiful Paris. And most of these lucky tourist make their way to the Louvre Museum, specifically to the ‘Salle des Etats’ where Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Gioconda’ is exposed. Last year, 10.2m people visited the museum. Excluding French people (2.5m) and French schools pupils (565,000), more than 7 million people traveled to France in 2018 to make eye contact with Mona Lisa, albeit from a distance and between a jungle of heads and lifted arms.

Photo by Jeff Haltrecht. Visit his photoblog.

They come from all around the world. Using Banque de France statistics, I have calculated that tourists traveling to Paris in 2018 have emitted a total of 2.2 million CO2, just by flying to and from the French capital. And all of that just to take the same, identical photo…

Now, I am surely exaggerating and being a bit moralistic. Yet, isn’t there a bit of vanity in all this? A…

Luca Silipo

I am an economist and author dedicated to finding applicable solutions to achieve social sustainability while preserving economic growth.