Burning Money

And so 2020 begins. I trust you all (and your pets) survived the celebrations and fireworks as we waved goodbye to 2019 and saw in 2020.

A few weeks prior it was the Christmas jumper that was getting it in the neck for destroying our planet (due to the high polyester count combined with its single-use nature), and then it was the New Years Eve celebrations and the use of fireworks around the world, or as one caller to a radio station termed it “the burning of money”. I thought “so true”.

We seem to be all about the burning of money. Australia was largely in the news due to its raging bush fires coupled with their $5million firework display in Sydney. Some people called on the fireworks to be banned, but objections included the point that the event had been arranged, and fireworks purchased, months earlier; you can’t let these things go to waste. It’s like buying too much food for the Christmas do; you can’t just chuck it in the bin, you have to eat it all… unless the best before date on the packaging tells you otherwise, of course.

Other people have called on such firework displays to be banned in general. Displays, and the amount of money thrown at them (and burned), seemed to have increased in lavishness year on year, even local fireworks for both our Bonfire Night, music events, and last night’s celebrations have become noticeably, and audibly, grander, and if they are considered to be grotesque, grotesquer.

But, like the lowly Christmas sweater, celebrating with fireworks is all just a bit of fun, right? Me’h. If it wasn’t the norm to ever set off a single firework it would be quite fun to at least set one off; I’d giggle at that. But it has become the norm to set off tones of the stuff, in displays that last for, well, minutes, and you scale that up for all the events held around the world, all of the capital cities, and that’s a lot of… stuff. But that’s normal. My point here that “normal” doesn’t = “right”. Sadly, it takes courage to step outside of the box, to go against the flow of society, be weird, or different and say no to the crap and yes to the path you believe in and see to be the right one.

But we’re all for burning money, whether it be in the form of fireworks, or in other guises, like driving fossil-fuel-burning cars (electric ones fare little better for their eco-friendliness), or flying in planes, or heating our homes to 20c/70F (or more) in winter. Here’s a tip for the latter one: ride a bike to the shops/work/school and when you get home I’m pretty sure you’ll find your house too warm at that temperature; get out and acclimatise yourself to the actual weather rather than residing in an artificial climate.

We, as society or ‘a westerner’, seem to turn to our governments, and those around the world, and big businesses (like airlines) to fix the problems that are so-called climate change and global warming, yet we individually burn money on a daily basis, or simply support those that do. By watching a fireworks display you’re endorsing it, whether you paid for it (directly) or not. By marveling at a rocket sending a payload into space (or merely a test flight), we’re condoning the burning of money and the hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel that go with it. Every time we buy something we don’t need, from excessive food to tech and gadgets, we’re supporting a world that is built on consumerism; one that on its current path is depleting natural resources, and turning them into plastics and other pollutants that ultimately end up blanketing, suffocating and destroying our environment, the one that allows us to live here.

All the while, as we consume and buy into the stuff that is sold to us through advertising and brainwashing, vast swathes of our world’s rain-forests are being destroyed, rivers and oceans stifled, beautiful animals suffering and whole species going extinct, and there are people who live with next to nothing; no home or little food, or suffer as slave labour. This is not normal, this is nonsense.

  • Drive less
  • Fly less
  • Consume less
  • Heat your home less (and avoid air-conditioning in the summer)
  • Switch things off
  • Avoid buying what you don’t need
  • Dispose of things consciously
  • Have fewer children

All that being said… happy new year!

[EDIT: Did you enjoy the show?!]

See also what sky lanterns can possibly do: www.itv.com/news/2020-01-01/scores-of-animals-killed-in-fire-at-german-zoo


  1. On pessimistic days I’m beginning to think we will never accept what is required without some unthinkable change such as a suspension of democracy. Imagine: giving up cars; home owners bearing the cost of further insulation and replacing gas or oil boilers or stoves and installing heat pumps and panels; a much more limited diet; severe restrictions on unnecessary travel with almost a complete ban on flying; restricted internet services to reduce electricity use by servers. China, India etc would have to do it too. It sounds dystopian, but it is not beyond possibility that we could see widespread starvation in western societies within the next 50-100 years. As I said “on pessimistic days”.

    • I agree, on pessimistic days! There is some leaning in this direction, but more subtly in the form of ‘shaming’ it seems. From the Xmas sweater, to the closing of roads to motor vehicles outside schools at the time of the school runs, and ‘encouraging’ us to eat less meat. Then there are the Extinction Rebellion protestors targeting the general public… perhaps if the masses can’t do the right thing then this is where democracy fails. Happy and optimistic new year to you!

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