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Boris Johnson Week 3: The G7 Summit in Biarritz, France

by John Brian Shannon

Boris Johnson has been UK Prime Minister for 19-days as this is written and enjoyed the shortest ‘honeymoon’ period ever granted by the media and world governments in British history. That’s 0-days of honeymoon if you’re counting at home.

Which is merely a manifestation of the frustration felt by Britons, the media, foreign powers, and MP’s in the UK House of Commons on account of former PM Theresa May’s 3-year saga of failed Brexit negotiations.

Alas, Theresa May (naively) sought a truly splendid and diplomatic future relationship with the EU, however, EU leaders were having none of it as their noses were so out of joint due to the fact that 17.4 million+ Britons voted in a democratic referendum to leave the EU.

Emotional people rarely make the best decisions.

But when so much is at stake(!) one must be mature enough to put aside their (understandable) human feelings and concentrate on making the best out of the situation.

How Brexit unfolds will largely determine European relations for the next 100-years. Or more.

That’s a lot at stake! Far too much is at stake to allow human emotion to rule Europe’s future. Denial is not an option.

If certain leaders (including those in the UK) can’t wrap their heads around how profound this moment in time is, they should do the honourable thing and resign. It will be better for them, for their country and for their respective political union — whether UK or EU — because no good will ever come of bickering, haranguing, resenting, and ignoring the democratic will of voters.

Let’s hope that EU hurt feelings realize that Europe’s entire future is on the line, and let’s hope that new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson finds a way to; #1, fulfil the result of the June 23, 2016 referendum by October 31, 2019, #2, finds a way forward for Brexit without further hurt feelings on the EU side, and #3, in the post-Brexit era finds ways to make the UK-EU relationship better than it ever was.

A tall order?

Not really. By definition, British Prime Ministers (and German Chancellors, BTW) must be ‘larger-than-life’ characters as their countries are large and important — but not so huge and as powerful as say, the United States, China, Russia, and the monolithic Soviet Union in its time.

Either Boris and Angela are larger-than-life and are therefore up to the task, or they’re somewhat less than that and will therefore fail to lead their countries to a place of mutual harmony and interdependence.

I’ve used Boris and Angela as an example here, but it also applies to the leaders of all G20 nations including those living under the EU27 umbrella.

All of those countries need larger-than-life leaders due to the unique challenges they face — including trying to compete in a world dominated by a still-powerful U.S. economy, an astonishing and still-rising Chinese economy, and the new, but powerful amalgam of CPTPP economies.

Fighting between ourselves only further hands the win to the U.S., China, and the CPTPP group — all of whom we love and respect(!) — but hey, we need to eat too.

So let’s not get in our own way.

What about it, Boris, Angela, Emmanuel, and other EU leaders? What way is it going to be?

Are Europeans going to continue shooting themselves in the foot as they did in the 20th-century (this time not in war, but in endless political and economic bickering) and continue to hand the lead to the three economic superpowers mentioned above?

Or will Europeans become part of their own solution instead of part of their own problem?

Every Country Brings Something to the G7 Table. What Will Boris Bring?

All eyes will be on new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he is the newest leader of a G7 country, to see what he will add to the G7 family. They understand that as of today he’s only 19-days into the job, but by August 24-26 he should be a little further into his new position and more familiar with the reins of power.

It should be noted that much of the work done in advance by the UK’s G7 sherpa team was done by Theresa May and under EU oversight.

But Boris intends to actually deliver Brexit, so it is incumbent upon him to show the world what the refreshed UK will bring (add) to the G7 family.

Bringing a shipload of money (spending commitments) to the G7 just won’t cut it. There’s plenty of that already in the world. What the world needs and what the G7 needs is ideas and practical plans to make the world a better place.

This year’s G7 to be held in Biarritz, France, from August 24-26, 2019. French President Emmanuel Macron will serve as the host for the summit.

This year’s G7 theme is “Inequality” and “Environment” — which are worthy and interdependent goals. And no doubt, there will be some amount of progress as Merkel and Macron have worked diligently on these issues within their own countries and across the world and are supported by many countries in this.

But what could a new British Prime Minister thrown into the mix only days ago hope to accomplish?

Let’s hope that Boris and his team are working late into the night trying to come up with something so that Britain can be seen to be part of the solution on Inequality and Environment instead of underwhelming the world at this year’s G7.

Post-Brexit, the UK Will Take Care of its Own Poor and Marginalized, and Simultaneously Work to Improve its Own Environment

Which will help the EU to focus on their own problems in that regard, as 67-million Britons will no longer be the responsibility of the EU, nor will the ecology of the entire landmass of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Which is great because it takes those problems right off the EU’s plate.

In that way, 93,628 square miles (242,495 square kilometres) of environment will no longer need to be overseen by the EU, nor will the well-being of 67,000,000 people require one moment of the EU’s time, which should allow the EU27 to concentrate on their own environmental and inequality issues.

But even that’s not good enough, because the G7 not only looks after G7 countries it also sets the bar for other developed and developing countries. Therefore, Boris Johnson must not only solve the UK’s Inequality and Environment problems, the UK as a G7 power is expected to be one of seven countries that set the standard on these important issues and it must be seen to be an important part of the solution across the world.

At the very least, the UK needs to be seen taking strong action on these issues and succeeding, and be found to be creating a working model that other countries could emulate.

The Best Time to Plant a Tree Was 20-years Ago —
The Second Best Time to Plant a Tree is Right Now

Four Step Programme to Lower UK CO2 Emissions by Half

  1. How to Help the UK’s Poor and Help UK Air Quality?
  2. Easy. Have Them Plant a Billion Trees in the UK Annually.
  3. One Billion Trees Will Remove 24-million Tons of CO2 from the Air Each Year.
  4. Over 8-years (with a bit of ‘lag time’ for them to grow) 8-billion New Trees Could Cut UK CO2 Emissions by Half

What? You heard me. If Boris Johnson were to announce a new programme to plant a billion trees every year in the UK, and hire a large percentage of those UK residents and citizens who hail from the bottom and 2nd-from-the-bottom economic quintiles he would be solving two problems in one.

2018 CO2 Emissions for the UK

Trees remove large quantities of CO2 from the air 24/7/365 and sequester it for an average of 40-years and working people face less inequality than non-working people stuck on some kind of welfare programme (no matter how well-intentioned it is) such as the UK’s valiant attempt at an anti-poverty programme, called Universal Credit.

Pay poor people to plant tree seedlings and save the environment at the same time!

It’s not going to solve 100% of Inequality. It’s not going to solve 100% of the CO2 problem. But such a programme would be a relatively cheap way to improve the lives of those stuck in the inequality trap and improve UK air quality.

It shouldn’t be a temporary programme. Rather, it should become a permanent part of the UK government’s mandate to monitor air quality across the UK 24/7/365 and to order as many seedlings planted as possible to help counter the UK’s anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2 emissions.

Fifty-years from now, the ‘UK Ministry of Ecology and Forest Creation’ (or whatever it would be called) should still be hiring individuals experiencing inequality to plant enough trees to maintain the UK’s air quality on an annual basis!

Bonus: Improving City Spaces with Urban Forests

Not only could low income workers earn plenty of money planting trees in rural and wilderness areas of the UK;

But each UK city or county could hold a referendum to decide which is their most crime-ridden or dilapidated city block (or rural area) and submit the result to their respective MP for funding to; a) mow down that city block with bulldozers, b) prepare the ground for the planting of a city forest, c) plant the trees and install a walkway such as in New York City’s Poet’s Walk (photo below) d) hire the workers from a pool of workers selected from the bottom economic quintile and the second from the bottom economic quintiles.

And, most important of all; as soon as the workers are finished creating their first city forest, have the next location already approved and ready for workers to begin transforming it into a city forest that thousands of citizens can enjoy all year.

Poet's Walk, Central Park, New York City, USA

Poet’s Walk, Central Park, New York City, USA. Central Park served as NYC’s garbage dump until 18,000 trees were planted.

Re-Tree the UK Within 20-years!

Such a programme could complement groups that are already working to re-forest Sherwood Forest in Nottingham to its former (much larger) extent, for one example.

In fact, Boris; Why not call the leader of that programme and ask for a re-foresting presentation to show G7 leaders attending the summit?

There seems to be plenty of hectares that need planting in the UK but not enough people-power to get the job done in any reasonable timeframe.

Hire the people who need to earn income to plant the trees we need to clean our air.

Now, that’s what I would call being part of the solution instead of part of the problem!

As befits the UK’s rightful place in the world.

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