No, not a specific person, but the generic individual who is passionate about saving the planet. This article is about you – and about Angus Forbes, who wants you to exercise your vote for self-determination through his Global Planet Authority (GPA).
A passionate proponent of saving the biosphere and a former financier, now married to Darcey Bussell, a fellow philanthropist, Angus is nothing if not evangelical about the cause that unites, or ought to unite all humans.
As he gave a powerful presentation at the Mayfair offices of Brown Rudnick, to a well-heeled audience of lawyers, investors, clients and guests, he sounded like a cross between a benign dictator and Jesus Christ, with a Quixotian touch in the mix.
He was drumming up support for his new GPA foundation by way of presenting his eponymous book and proselytising with poignancy, humility and boundless idealism. He was compelling us to believe that awareness and super-connectivity would transcend local and national politics, and harness the power of billions of global citizens who can and will reverse the degradation of the biosphere.
All too frequently, the new emissaries of the saving the planet project, whatever their focus, come across as a motley crew of utopian fruitcakes, even though the momentum is now palpable (cue the “Greta Effect”). Not so Angus Forbes, whose credentials, mastery of the statistics, and friends in high places (he is a director of the Prince’s Rainforest Project, a founder of Bankers without Boundaries and his book is endorsed by the likes of Paul McCartney and Chris Darwin among others) place him above the fray.
I haven’t had a chance to read the book at the time of writing the article, so this is not a book review, nor is it an in-depth look at the complexities of his proposition (and there are many).
At its most basic, it goes like this: radical change comes from grass root movements and if 1.5 billion connected individuals across the globe were to vote for a nation-wide governance geared to saving the biosphere, they would have the executive power to act on the GPA manifesto.
For the book is indeed a manifesto: warning of the very plausible danger of total annihilation by the year 2050, its stated goal is to weaponise and enable the global environmental warrior through commandeering assets and levying global transaction fees, such as a flat 3% GDP charge and progressive taxation of the wealthy.
Angus Forbes is excellent at fielding some of the obvious questions re. the effects of cutting nitrogen production, overpopulation, consumerism and “are we too late?”.
On topics such as seizing executive power he simply wants to take a leap of faith based on historical events of revolutionary proportions and consequences.
Nor is there an easy answer to convincing the emerging middles classes in Asia, Africa and South America to revert to voluntary frugality. How can we deny them plane travel, rich food, fancy cars and CO2 generating experiences we’ve enjoyed for decades of oblivious and wanton indulgence?
As I stepped out of the opulent Brown Rudnick offices and walked past the glittering high brand shops in nearby Bond Street, I reflected on how the GPA manifesto would play out on the “Global Luxury Authority” and the average Londoner whose major preoccupations are with the immediate and most pressing.
I resisted the urge to book a Uber and took the bus instead. On the chug along ride back home, I listened to two 30 somethings discussing landing a job at an advertising agency that promotes the interests of some major corporate culprits of industrial pollution.
Are Angus Forbes and his disciples going to win the good battle and ultimately the war against destroying our precious planet, and our very species?
The stakes are huge, but so are the obstacles.
Can I convince you the planet is facing likely obliteration by 2050 and that re-using your Waitrose plastic bag wouldn’t make a dent on the march towards destruction? Would YOU then vote for the GPA manifesto, not just with ticking the box but by radically changing your lifestyle?