“Guys being guys” and why it’s not ok

I can’t call myself a feminist. It’s a hard word to define but I’m pretty sure it involves some kind of activism and that’s not me. But I do think I’m at least a righteous guy that does “the right thing” and try to be a gentleman to ladies – but stopping short of making them feel incompetent. And in my opinion – women are just better in every way. And the fact that guys again and again take advantage of being physically stronger sickens me!

This week I posted what was supposed to be a funny joke on Facebook with a funny pun. But what I didn’t reflect on at first was that the joke was about a guy doing a guy thing and taking sexual advantage of a woman in a very exposed situation. So when thinking about it like that it really wasn’t funny. But it took someone pointing that out to me that even though it was a pun-joke, the situation itself was anything but funny. The person pointing this out knew I wasn’t the kind of person to think a guy sexually assaulting a woman is funny but the point was that I didn’t even think of it that way. And that guys rarely think of it that way. And I couldn’t really argue against it!

I also remember back in high school when the guys are talking about home many girls they grabbed on the ass and I can honestly tell you my score was 0. Because it was just a completely strange concept to me – what was the point?? Back then one could blame it on hormones and “guys being guys” but nowadays it’s so very common for guys to still do things like that and I still don’t get it. But reading what happened with our prime minster Ulf Kristersson the other day it’s clear that it’s very common.

If you didn’t hear the story, he was doing a round with the local police and ended up comforting a woman in Gröna Lund that had been the victim of some guy being a complete asshole – and fortunately he got taken in by the police. And in a public response to the family of the victim that thanked him, he made a awesome point by stating that this is not ok and it’s up to everyone to stop this behaviour now.

Some might say this is “an imported problem”, with the meaning that this is young Muslim boys who don’t respect women and behaves in Muslim ways – which I don’t buy at all. As I said, this was a thing that happened 30 years ago when I was in high school! And swedes have been raping women since the age of the Vikings so I don’t buy that. But I don’t get where these guys are – because no one I personally know would think it’s ok to go around grabbing women at a concert or crowded subway or something like that, let alone raping anyone.

And speaking of rape, if anyone thinks a rape is just rough sex and then it’s done and over with, I want you to read this PDF about how a rape and the failure of the legal system can destroy the victim. Everyone should actually read it, it s a very good read and something I hope with our new “mutual consent” law in Sweden won’t be as much of an issue as it has been. Or go read statistics about how a rape can destroy a person’s life with a lot of victims ending up in some addiction hellhole!

So no, “guys being guys” isn’t ok, it’s not an excuse, it’s a terrible way of trying to deflect from being an asshole!

But I still can’t undo being a part of the problem for posting a joke without thinking it through. Here’s hoping I’m not too old to learn and change my ways!

Collapse Aware

Thanks to the great article over here at Medium I finally have a diagnosis – I’m “Collapse Aware“.
I realized a long time ago that the civilization we have built for ourselves isn’t sustainable. For multiple reasons. And it will come crashing down – unless drastic measures that the public won’t want and thus no politician dares to propose, let alone enforce. It’s also a part of the diagnosis to feel frustrated, depressed, angry at how the rest of the world isn’t waking up to this fact and actually does something about it. And the diagnosis also comes with the doubt that I might be disillusioned and wrong about the whole thing.

I think it was back in 2004 back when I was finishing up my “world tour” working for our state department and traveling all over the world and I saw directly how different countries and cultures were living and using the resources of the earth that I had the first thoughts about “how in hell are we supposed to keep on going like this in our ‘western civilization’??”. The wasteful mindset of USA, the consumerism of Singapore contrasted by the “taking each day by day” in Kongo. Sitting in an airport counting the amount of planes every hour thinking how much fuel this is costing. The ever expanding population. How we keep getting older and older and not dying as much from diseases as we are ‘supposed to’. And this feeling just kept getting stronger and stronger over the years. It’s actually been growing for so long that I can’t even remember when it got to the point where I realized “this won’t hold for long”. But it was before I became a father because I remember having the feelings of “the last thing I should be doing is putting a child to this earth to hand over the mess we’ve made”. Which is one of the reasons we only had one.

But one pivotal thing I do remember was watching a documentary about the coral reefs and how they are slowly dying. And this I think was about 8 years ago. Also at this point I was having second thoughts about my job. I was working for one of the biggest charter/holiday companies in Scandinavia. Our bread and butter was flying people to Greek islands for all you can eat and drink vacations and back again. And even though that company was a leader in it’s field for fuel efficiency and being environmental aware, every time I was on one of those holidays and saw the waste at the buffet and the consumerism, it really didn’t feel good.

Since then it’s only gotten worse for our civilization – as far as I know. I try to be a critical thinker and not taking anything without checking the source but in these days it’s hard not to find a new scientific paper about how we’re sending this civilization down a spiral. Or listening to Johan Rockström (or watching his Netflix “Breaking Boundaries”) talking with all his years of research and studies, it all get’s a bit too much to ignore for anyone. What makes things even more frustrating is that conservative political parties are gaining grounds globally. And conservatives aren’t really known to put the planet first. Yet people are voting for them more and more globally. Even in Sweden, one year ago 18% of people voted for a party that gladly says the environmental problems are someone else’s problems to fix, not ours and also says “more people are dying from cold than heat”??

But then in 2020 something happened that gave me a little bit of hope. At first I thought it was nature’s “finding a way”. A new global pandemic to reduce our numbers. And with changing our way of living and with all resources thrown at that problem we got out of it pretty “successfully”. So we can change our behavior, we can change how we do business, we can change how we live our lives. But then we also proved how good we are at returning to the old ways as fast as possible even though we shouldn’t.

So now as the heatwaves of 2023 in Europe has dissipated and the storm seems to be easing up, what’s next for us? Are we going to continue like we have for the past decades? Or are we finally going to realize that the civilization we’ve built isn’t sustainable and start moving away from it?

What we need to do? (in no particular order)

  • We need to consume less stuff – no more shopping cheap stuff of Wish and throwing things away all the time.
  • We need to stop using the car for every trip we do and we need to rethink our cities to have more green spaces, more parks and trees and less roads & parking lots – remember that cars have only existed for about 120 years, how can we be so dependent on it in our daily lives and build our cities around them instead of us?? Or when I was in Florida and wanted to go to a restaurant 500 meters away and they called a cab and I said “I’ll gladly walk those 500 meters!” to which they replied “no you can’t. You literally can’t, there’s no way to walk there”.
  • Be more efficient with energy – I still remember with horror when I was at Kennedy Space Center and they had a fleet of 30 touring busses parked and all of them blasting their AC’s at full power because it was 30’C (this was in late September)?!
  • We need to have fewer kids so we don’t blast to 20 billion people on this planet.
  • We need to stop flying and no more cruise ships. I hoped Covid would take care of this but apparently it wasn’t enough.
  • We need to have a CO2 tax for products that come with high CO2 emissions like beef. And this tax goes to planing trees.
  • Stop deforestation, or at least bring it down to a minimum.
  • We need to paint as much as possible white. Since the polar ice have melted we are lacking “whiteness” to reflect light back into space. No, seriously, Google “Albedo effect“. It’s been known for decades but we still tile most roofs with black tiles and pave roads with black asphalt.
  • We need to stop burning fossil fuels yesterday and have solar panels everywhere with ability to store the energy. This technology exists.
  • We need to change or abolish capitalism. It’s based on “perpetual growth” and you can’t have perpetual growth on a planet that’s not growing!

But most of all we need to change our mindset. Because this isn’t going to end well and what we can’t do is saying “they will fix it” (who are they exactly?) or “it will sort itself out” (because we won’t let it).

I unfortunately see a future where countries go to war just because their country isn’t enough or they can’t live there anymore. Like 1 billion people in India facing a water shortage and daily temperature averaging over 40′. I’m seeing Spain being too dry and hot to grow food. I’m seeing USA taking over Canada for the colder climate. I’m seeing the world being dependent on Russia as the biggest land for farming in the areas we used to call “permafrost”. That is if a nuke or two doesn’t go off. And no more champagne as Champagne wine region will get too dry to grow grapes. We need politicians with balls to implement these changes but they won’t do that until there are enough of us wanting a change. Because me changing jobs to one that works for the science of how to beat this, me installing solar panels on our house, driving an electric car and reducing amount of meat, it’s all voluntarily and it’s not enough.

But I seem to be in the extreme minority to think we need a drastic change. And believe me, I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong about all of this. But the people doing the research agree that it’s not sustainable and we’ve entered damage limitation territory now. And we aren’t even doing that.

My sister Amy – RIP

After a 2 year battle against cancer my oldest sister Amy died at 52 years of age. And four weeks ago we had the funeral service for her and I’m going to try to talk about it here.

Me and Amy in 2006
(Me and Amy in 2006)

Growing up I had two sisters, Amy and Anne-Charlotte (from now on referred to as AC). I remember that me and AC didn’t get along at all and we hated each other. But Amy kept to herself, at least from me. But she got along with AC and whenever we were in Scotland for the summer holidays they would run off together to do fun things while I was “stuck” with my parents. At least until I was like 12 or 13 and could shoot a game of pool at the pub. So growing up I hardly knew her unfortunately. But one of the good memories I have is one time when I had the house to myself for a few days and she stopped by and we watched some 80’s flicks together.

Then when I turned 16 I started working at a fast food restaurant in Stockholm and Amy was shift leader. But she worked weekdays and I worked weekends since I was still in school so I hardly saw her there either. Then she met her Paul and moved to Scotland to start a family. And I barely saw her after that.

We did meet for some family events and we met when they would come by Sweden now and then. And I went over there a few times to celebrate her 30th and 40th, and also the awesome weekend in Silverstone ’05 and so on. But we were never close and in some weird way we were fine with that.

When we first heard of the diagnosis back in July 2020 it was right when the world was panicking about covid. And one place that really panicked was UK so the idea of jumping on a plane to go see her was quickly ruled out. Then the prognosis was bad, then good, then bad, then not so bad, then terrible over a 2 year period which was awful for everyone but especially for her but also AC.

I did manage to get over there in July 2022 to met her and the family over there which was good although the diagnosis then was terrible but she was still in good spirits which was fun to see.

Then she had (or maybe I should say “made it”) a great Christmas, a Christmas that she wouldn’t have according to the doctors. And she turned 52 but after that her body couldn’t fight it anymore.

And in the last weekend of February we went over there to deal with a funeral service. Amy had already met the people organizing the funeral service so everything was done according to her wishes. The opening of the ceremony was spent remembering the good life she had starting a family in Scotland and her 30 years over there. And it made me sad because I realized how much I had missed, how little I knew about her life there. But then there was a great slideshow to some awesome music to remember the good times and that made most people feel better – I know I did. And after that some snacks and refreshments and talking to all the friends and family over there, most of whom I had no idea about. It all made me regret not taking the time to go over there more often!

After all that I headed back to the hotel for some alone time with “Drive to Survive” that premiered that weekend which made sense considering that was one of the few things me and Amy had in common. Then the day after I went home again. Or tried to go home but KLM did a terrible mess of the entire thing.

And now a few weeks after the fact it’s starting to sink it. And I still get reminded of Amy a little now and then, especially thanks to Facebook that likes to point out that we both liked Formula 1!

So all in all… “live your best life” and “you always regret the things you didn’t do”.

Amy when she turned 30