What to do? Get our hopes up and give the climate negotiations our attention? Believe that even tiny symbolic steps in the right direction can make a difference in the long term? Or simply turn off the news stream and direct our attention elsewhere?

Ahead of COP28, we once again face the dilemma: Do we continue to put our trust in global governance? Or do we do what we humans do best: lead by example, and let the climate negotiators navigate their own, rising lake? Turn off the news and the big headlines, and concentrate on our own everyday life and the things that we are actually in control of?

The symbolism of relegating a climate summit to a mirage of a late-capitalist fever dream in the Arabian desert is simply too thick.

Cynical yes, but were it not for a cynicism far more brutal, Dubai probably would still just be a sleepy Bedouin village.

Let's get real: We agree on a climate fund that will mitigate the worst damage, for those most affected by global warming, but is nowhere near minimizing the emissions that more than anything else drag the global average temperatures up.

What changes the world is action, not benevolence. Even so many speeches, climate agreements and flights to the Middle East and back hardly bring the world one step closer to fewer emissions. The only form of decoupling possible is to detach from this whole lie of a diplomatic circus. What counts is what we ourselves do, repeat, and consume on a daily basis.

So let's not wait for the legislators, but let's embrace the green transition ourselves.

Let's each turn down the hustle and bustle and our excessive use of resources. Let's start working a little less for money, and a little more voluntarily, in the local contexts where it makes the most sense.

Let's buy—and not least create more experiences, locally, where we live and let's buy fewer things.

And if you fear the green transition because you are afraid that it will limit your individual freedom; your freedom to buy, and your freedom to travel, remember that the new, green societies of the future will in turn give you more time that you can dispose of yourself, and make you less dependent on a high monthly income.

Your options for choosing your own place of residence, way of life, way of working and working hours may well turn out to be far more diverse than they seem today, and less dictated by the expectations of banks and financial markets.

Let's just do ourselves a favor and forget about Dubai.

The symbolism of relegating a climate summit to a mirage of a late-capitalist fever dream in the Arabian desert is simply too thick.

Only a vanishing fraction of the globe's 8 billion people can find cooling shelter in the air-conditioned compounds in Dubai. The rest of us ought to really give a fuck.

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