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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Thanks David Gile – but on Musk

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I want to thank David Gilet for his appreciation of the thoughts I’ve shared here. It’s very welcome as I’ve been equally appreciative of his contributions to this forum. I don’t think I’m particularly susceptible to PR and marketing as I’m far more interested in logic, reason, and substance. At least, that’s the guiding light of what I try to do and, in my observations, Musk has substance. I’ve been following the energy and transport transition for some time and Musk first came on my radar when he joined Tesla. I’ve been watching him very closely ever since and this is what I’m seeing.

Like many of his generation there is no environmental/social debate for Musk. That we require a healthy environment and a healthy society for our species to survive is obvious to them, they were brought up with that understanding. They were brought up by us, the baby boomers, who had only come to that understanding because hardly any of us grew up with it. But that understanding is now rapidly expanding with successive generations, and Musk is part of that. He’s a man on a mission and, fortunately for our movement, he’s a next level genius artist/engineer/entrepreneur.

Yes, he makes mistakes, but he’s a human being and the person who never made a mistake never made anything. And no, he isn’t personally cleaning the plastic from our oceans. However, he put half his self-made fortune into a company with a less than 10 per cent chance of succeeding because he had a mission; to accelerate the energy and transport transition and clean up our air; one of the largest environmental tasks in history and he’s succeeding. He put the other half of his fortune into SpaceX, another company with only a 10 per cent chance of succeeding, and the missions of both are a sustainable future for our species. His entire fortune and his prodigious personal input are a significant commitment to a mission we all share. We may have differing solutions but we share that mission.

I can’t help noticing the really bad press Musk has in the environmental movement and there are a few reasons for that. It’s been obvious to the movement for decades that wealth and influence has been the major opponent of change so there’s a natural suspicion of the wealthy and influential. Musk has a lot of powerful enemies, mostly the wealthy and influential whose status quo world is being thoroughly disrupted by him. Through the channels of communication they own, some of the finest mainstream media money can buy, playing on that suspicion of wealth is relatively easy for them, if somewhat ironic. Jealousy and the tall poppy syndrome are equally easy to manipulate, creating suspicion and hatred.

If we’re to make it through this transition to a sustainable future then it’s vital we see a transformation of the one per cent. I think that may be happening as the blindingly obvious takes over and we’ll be seeing more 21st century entrepreneurs taking advantage of the superior economics of pursuing sustainability. Ultimately a society living in co-operation with each other and the Earth, which we need if we’re going to survive, is likely to be extremely prosperous – and we’ve developed a lot of the knowledge to make that possible right here in the Northern Rivers. Once the entire transition to a sustainable future becomes driven by superior economics we’ll likely to see exactly what we’re beginning to see in the energy and transport transition; super rapid growth. It may even be rapid enough for us to make it.

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