So there’s a conference in Los Angeles coming up next week that is considered by most in the EV and battery space as a “must attend” event.

And since I haven’t gone anywhere since the pandemic started in 2020, I thought, without thinking, that this would be an appropriate ‘return to civilization’ opportunity.

I started looking at flights, hotels …you know – the usual exercises and behaviours one must undertake to actually put such a trip into the ‘reality’ calendar.

But then, unbidden, my humanity brain suddenly started lobbing objections into my consciousness. “hypocrite”, “liar” and “sheep” were flung into my talking mind by this normally quiet and reflective pond of my id.

And that, predictably, called the attention of the analytical left brain, which then led me to the dreaded and terrible question, “What if everyone went to the conference?”.

Now this question has become my conscientious mind’s favorite trick to play on analytical mind and talking mind.

If everyone – and I do mean everyone – wanted to go to this conference, there wouldn’t be enough aircraft, hotel rooms, ubers, Air BnB’s, or even drinking water to accommodate the 8 billion human beings now swarming all over the planet.

The sewage outflow into the Pacific Ocean would probably cause an algae bloom from Santa Monica pier to Fukushima.

And it was at this moment that I realized, I’m not going to the conference.

Even though this is a gathering of industry and capital that is theoretically at the blazing edge of humanity’s effort to get itself back to a format of existence we like to call “sustainable”.

And this is precisely the thing about humanity’s so-call effort to bring climate change under control, or solve the energy crisis, or whatever cause celebré makes you feel most proactive about your behaviour and choices as it pertains to the ecological container we are all limited by, defined by, nurtured by, and ultimately, destroyed in.

We picture the various crises and externalize them as conditions we need to address. In seeking to address and solve them, we then undertake behaviours that are the central cause, when considered collectively, of the converging ecological catastrophes. We fly here, and meet there, and build this and that and talk and analyze and broadcast and teach a never-ending innovative technology poltergeist that constitutes a universally shared mental illness.

Or a lack of integrity as a species. A mutual and tacit understanding that we’re never going to be the masters of our destiny.

Despite the fact that this battery technology and electric vehicle conference features over “60 confirmed speakers”, and will highlight developments in lithium ion battery production, recycling, input mining, technological improvements, and new products, the fact is this conference is doing more to compound the ecological pressures driving climate change, wildfires, pollution, habitat destruction, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions in the current timeframe than they will likely ever solve in the future.

You might think its ludicrous to arrive at this conclusion from the impossible concept of 8 billion people wanting to fly to Los Angeles for 5 days, but this is, in my opinion, the very consideration that needs to be confronted whenever we think about what we want to do. Or how we can possibly solve the accelerating convergence of breakdowns in aspects of the ecological container in which all of this is possible.

What if everyone did it?

What if everyone wanted to be a race car driver? Ecological destruction.

What if everyone wanted to be an astronaut?

Ecological destruction.

What is everyone wanted to be a regenerative organic farmer?

Ecological restoration.

But we don’t have enough land on the planet for that. Which is to say, we have too many people.

Which is the bottom line here.

Economically. Ecologically. There are too many people.

And so before we start thinking we can innovate our way out of this mess technologically, and flying all over the place to discuss more industrial output to solve the problems created by industrial output, we should stop contradicting our words with our actions.

That would be the first medical indication that humanity is actually even capable of achieving the goals it espouses so passionately in a billion social media posts a day.

Delusion, Belief, and Choice

Within the capital markets industry, these sentiments are unwelcome. I understand that. It is the reality that has made my life the very model of contradiction in thought versus action.

You need money. I need money. We do what we can to get money.

There’s a not a lot of money to be made in regenerative organic farming – unless you approach it on an industrial scale.

Everybody needs to eat.

And within the requirement for food, shelter and meaningful relationships and self-determination lies another human fallacy set that renders us incapable (at least, for now) of reorienting humanity toward a sustainable and rehabilitative behaviour toward the global ecology.

We all need to eat. We all need to have something to do that earns us enough to get food for us and ours, since there’s no way everybody is going to grow their own.

But do we need to fly to conferences, and travel so incessantly, or commute so much, or accumulate so much? Or does that contribute to the mental health pandemic that is our collective and willful hypocrisy in action versus deed that is driving us toward mutually assured destruction?

I am currently in my third year running an organic regenerative farm. I’ve been on a waiting list for two years for an electric tractor. I’m still evaluating solar panel arrays to charge it. Elon Musk has been promising me a cyper truck for almost 5 years now.

With huge effort and continuous self-reflection, I am gradually weaning myself off of the mental addiction of travel and the illusion of wealth that it both supports and erodes.

Flying to conferences though, or “meetings”. That’s over. And my next vacation? I will be traveling to and from on a bicycle.

But don’t think this overt ‘virtue signaling’ is me trying to advertise my superiority in ecological preservation; I have a lifetime of air miles, and hotel points, and exotic destinations collected to affirm that I am most definitely guilty of all of the hypocrisy and delusion herein described.

Just not anymore.


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