Things started a bit rocky for my annual trip to Davos. My plan was to catch a ride with King Charles (he offered) only to be pushed out by his enlarged prostate. Perhaps not literally but it might as well have been.
At first I ignored the news, imagining it some cruel joke but in fact he will be hospitalised for… well I don’t want to know the details, but Judith (mummy) could not stop talking about it, or the breach in royal protocol as royals traditionally don’t disclose the details of illnesses. And why he chose to reveal to the world his… oh never mind. The fact was I had to scramble to find transport directly to Davos without having to ‘train it’ from Germany.
The theme this year—‘Rebuilding Trust’. A public relations disaster in my opinion, that did nothing but remind people of the hooker bonanza that was Davos 2023. Hookers weren’t exactly absent this year but clowns took center stage. Yes, humans, dressed as clowns, claiming to be climate activists. I interviewed two of them which proved a complete waste of my time. Whatever their purpose… they were well-funded and one would even say organised—if you can get round the fact that they were dressed as clowns.
At Davos: hookers or clowns?
I was grateful that the media connected them to the two diesel-fueled buses they brought to Davos. It’s one thing for the top CEOs to fly private, as we must, but quite another for clowns not to hop a train from Zurich. Unfortunately, that same media couldn’t stop running images of the cadre of police—as if we’re trying to take over the world!
We were closing in on Davos 2024 and I hadn’t connected with any of my clients, save a passing smile or a raised glass of champagne. Unfortunately one of my bigger clients now has a girlfriend-turned-fiancé, who is pressing on my last nerve. I was happy when as new girlfriend, she kept him from texting me at all hours, but now she was keeping me from saving the planet—or at least gumming up the works a bit. It’s been four nights of parties and no work accomplished since she’d figured out her body is seen to best advantage when twisted around his. Charming right? If not here, when am I meant to get my proposals heard and funded? Clearly her green agenda is not mine.
I needed to keep a clear head and was ordering an espresso martini when I heard, ‘Jenny, there you are!’ Oh please! He’d been avoiding me all week. ‘Yes!’ I said, noting the human sheath was away. I quickly ditched the martini and reached round the back of my dress to wipe the sticky bit from my fingers and we kissed on each cheek. I dove right in and was able to explain everything I needed before I sensed the pounding of her short strides coming nearer.
‘Jen-ny!’ she said in two distinct syllables before pressing all of her curves against me and landing a big ‘mwah’ on my cheek. She was harmless. And sweet, but I had work to do and was grateful to have gotten his buy-in. Just then, and inches from a clean getaway he said, ‘Oh, Jenny… Polycrisis!' It’s all I’m hearing. Polycrisis, polycrisis….can we get a polysolution?’
‘Umm, sure.’ I said, wondering how I was going to pull that rabbit out of that hat. I texted my father—no reply. But of course. Since Daddy stopped skiing he and Judith spent January in Tenerife. Daddy wasn’t retired but as a geophysical engineer and oil exec, he was understandably less busy developing new petroleum sites these days; and hadn’t made the switch to cobalt mining.
Murphy's Law in action.
I scrolled through X for a video on polycrisis. It wasn’t good. Not that I expected a crisis could be good, but basically it was talking about the compound effect of climate AND something. Net-net it was asking me to split my focus between climate and someone else’s agenda. Like I said… not good. I had to act now. The truth was lockdowns hadn’t worked and people were once again going about their business as if the planet didn’t need a radical drop in all human activity.
If we were to succeed we could not just let go of power. And we needed to be seen as in power, to remain in power. Unfortunately the internet was also littered with the phrase ‘global elites’, and a rather inconvenient metric explaining that the world’s richest one percent emits as much carbon pollution as the poorest two-thirds of humanity. Again, not good. To the unenlightened we looked to be the bad guys!
During Covid we’d been able to explain to people that they were just flat wrong, and countries wisely yielded power to monopolies so we could all benefit in the end. But I didn't see how to get us there again, at least not right away. And just then a ping from Daddy: ‘How are the slopes?’
‘WORKING!!!!’ I texted back. ‘No slopes!’ Ugh. ‘But I have a question… what about polycrisis? I mean, how can I keep the focus on what matters… the planet, and away from distractions?’
‘Distractions?’ he wrote back.
‘Yes, you know, like contributing factors’, I said.
‘Ah, you mean YOU then. You, your clients, and their monopolies which now dictate the wages people are paid, the price of food… this compounds the problem. Et voila, a polycrisis!’
Oh he was incorrigible. He rang and I picked up. ‘AGAIN, Daddy. We don’t agree on why this matters but can you just assume we agree? I need a polysolution’.
‘But we don’t agree’ he said. ‘And you believe as long as you keep working, you can continue to save the planet, so keep doing your job. Jennifer. Your client’s fortunes have doubled since 2020, and you did that with fear. Fear of death by Covid, and fear of death by dissent. So sell them more fear’.
‘DADDY THAT’S HORRIBLE!’ I shouted.
‘I agree’, he said.
It was horrible. And I thought about what else could be done. But he was right. Fear had worked. And if fear of Covid could reduce the world’s richest man to a quivering, mask-wearing, germaphobe—surely I could find something to keep us in clover...