If I had a Billion dollars…
This week the voice of the most demoralized people on the planet, Forbes Magazine, announced a new record. There are now 1,426 Billionaires and they jointly own $5.4 trillion that is $5,400,000,000,000 give or take a few hundred million; about 3.8 billion per person. I am not one to judge the morality of being grimy rich (but you may want to watch this) or understand what kind of problems this amount of money must give them, but it got me thinking. What would I do if I had a billion or three? I mean, just in case one of these guys has an guilty conscience or even are simply looking for some ideas, it is obvious that it is not easy to spent a billion. I bet a billion bucks could build a few bike lanes. Why bike lanes? Bike lanes are the most important element in getting people on bikes, saving gazillions of barrels of oil. But why do we need to save on oil? Well if you take a look at the article in Co.Exist magazine “14 Carbon Bombs that are about to blow the planet” and see some of the fossil-fuel mega projects that are now planned in order for the rest of us to have more energy to burn, it seems obvious that having more of humanity cycling is a good idea. As an aside, the article states that if all of these 14 projects happen, “it may be the last fossil fuel we produce as the combined effect will be to raise the planet’s temperature disastrously”. This possibility may be literary license but who actually knows.
And because I really love pedaling, I suggest that another cool billion could be used for the creation of elegant human powered machineries such as grain crushers, water filters, lawn mowers, pedal-powered snow removers, washing machines. You name the activity – an efficient human-powered machine can be built and more importantly made available to those who need it most – the one billion that did not win the lottery of being born in the right place. And some of us who really do not like to go to the gym to stay in shape may even use some of these devices even if we won the lottery. I assume the 1,426 Billionaires are not retired and rocking in their chairs. My intuition tells me that they produce a lot of carbon. Fortunately, I happen to know of a very simple method of carbon absorption. It’s called planting trees. When I was young and more idealistic, I ran a little organization that planted 50 million trees in just a few years and, to my amazement, it cost us 25 cent a tree. Even taking into account inflation, there are a lot of trees that can be planted for a cool billion in many places around the planet.
So, dear Billionaire Club, I know you all worked very hard to make your money and have all been paying much more tax than people like me. I also know some of you have even set up foundations to distribute a billion or two here and there. But it seems, despite that, your fortunes continue to grow. In any case I am just saying, if you want some advice here it is for free. And who knows some of this may even make a difference.