How societies solve crises

How many ways are people trying to solve climate change?

There are plenty of technology swaps people are making. Like, say, replacing coal power plants with solar farms.

Some tech goes towards reducing the bad stuff, like experimental gut bacteria for cows that stops so much gas falling out of them.

Other tech reverses the bad stuff, like carbon capture.

Then there are policy solutions – things like emissions caps, carbon taxes, industry standards, tax breaks for green tech.

There are things individuals can do, like eating less meat, using less power and planting trees.

I could go on. In fact, that might be a fun project for someone: list all of the ways we, as a species, are scheming to stabilise the environment. The sheer quantity and variety of projects would have to be impressive, right?

Let’s take another example:

Because I’m studying the early days of World War 2 – around Dunkirk and the Phoney War – let’s think about all the ways the British prepared for a Nazi invasion.

They sponsored guerrilla attacks in France, studied German codes, developed radar, welcomed Poles and scrutinised Hitler’s psyche. They considered any and every method to defeat their enemy, whether militarily, psychologically, economically or logistically.

If they could starve, demoralise, deplete, redirect, harass, distract, irritate, confuse, confound or trap the enemy, they would. It would have been foolish – criminally negligent – if they only focused on killing their soldiers. War is a crisis you can fight on many fronts.

Again, there was a huge variety of approaches here. People turned their lights off at night to make it harder for German bombers – that’s one approach.


Churchill built secret oil pipes to the southern beaches of the UK. If the enemy tried to invade, they’d land right in the middle of a firestorm.

I can imagine an early draft of Churchill’s famous speech. “Actually, we won’t fight them on the beaches. We’ll just set the bloody things on fire.”

This is how societies face crises. Problems can sneak by unresolved, but a crisis invites people to think outside the box and attack the problem from every angle.

So I guess covid isn’t a crisis then.

Because I think about the so-called solutions to it and I’m not impressed.

If I were to list out vaccines, lockdowns, masks and contact tracing, my question naturally is… okay, what else? If this is a mild inconvenience, sure, we might not do much more than that. But this is a crisis, so they say.

So why aren’t they treating it like one?

I’m glad vaccines are on the list. They’re a key part of modern medicine and, in this case, they seem to help.

But I’m horrified that vaccines are the primary – really, only – solution that they use that has any long-term chance of succeeding.

Where are the non-vaccine-based pharmaceutical interventions? I heard about ivermectin months before Joe Rogan mentioned it, where a panel of doctors were discussing how it was promising but the authorities didn’t want to know about it. They refused to even research it. Ivermectin can’t be the only drug that ever showed promise. Covid and the countermeasures will cost billions, maybe even trillions, by the time this runs its course, so surely it’s justified to pursue all leads.

Most leads won’t pan out. So what? Vaccines aren’t the silver bullet and we pursued that lead anyway.

What about non-pharmaceutical-based solutions? There’s a boatload of research that shows what keeps people healthy and boosts their immune system. You know, stuff like fresh air, exercise, good sleep, sunlight and socialising. Where are the policies that support those?

And no, I don’t count enforcing lockdowns while advising people exercise as a good solution here.

Where are the other things I haven’t thought of, since I’m not a society? I couldn’t have fought the Battle of Britain on my lonesome, after all.

Want to know the funny thing?

People and businesses have responded to the lockdowns like how I’m describing here. People have been extremely creative in doing stuff virtually, hygienically or at the required distance. Society has responded to the crisis of lockdowns better than it has the crisis of covid.

Reflect on that a few times until it sinks in. If it hasn’t clicked for you that lockdowns are a crisis separate from the virus they supposedly fight, meditate on it.


There’s a conspiracy theory that says Big Pharma are restricting non-vaccine-based countermeasures, because this maximises their profits. Calling it a conspiracy theory immediately invalidates it if you think in terms of branding. After all, crazy people believe stupid conspiracies and you’re not crazy, so this must be wrong.

There’s no way rich and powerful people would mislead the public to become richer and more powerful.

Even though they have in the past.

But still, there’s another explanation.

Medicine is weird.

Medicine doesn’t like creative solutions. They tend to lead to snake oil and hidden side effects and irradiated babies and expensive lawsuits.

An engineer looking to fight climate change can tinker in their garage… or a sophisticated R&D lab.

A doctor looking for a new treatment can’t ‘tinker’. They have to run everything by 17 ethics boards who might get in trouble for saying ‘yes’ but will never get in trouble for saying ‘no’. Then they have to figure out what works in biology – the messiest, noisiest experimental context in the known universe.

Sloppy physicists can measure things to six decimal places in an afternoon. Biology takes decades of double-blind studies where the noise can and will swallow any signal.

So, yeah, the medical system can hardly get creative when it comes to fighting covid. They’re constrained by both policy and reality.

By design or coincidence, that puts Big Pharma in a situation where they’re offering the only answer in town.

It’s like if the British handed their soldiers guns with no ammo and torpedos but no ships.

Then spent ages arguing how guns and torpedos are proven to be effective in winning wars.

Then wondered why it’s not working.

All while the soldiers and citizens have nowhere else to turn.

Eh, I dunno. Conspiracy or not, these solutions are utterly inadequate, worth questioning and not worth sacrificing your freedoms for.

Questioning policy is never unscientific. If a policy hurts your livelihood or reduces your freedoms, then you absolutely should look deeper.

Maybe that policy really is the best way forward, but you wouldn’t take a politician’s word for that, would you?

As I get to this point in the article, I realise I have no answer here. This is a lot of words to say that maybe there’s a vast conspiracy or maybe we’re too constrained to solve this problem – either way, there’s not much you can do about it.

Except treating this as a good-vs-evil, logic-vs-insanity issue. Even if CEOs are milking this crisis for money, that doesn’t mean the everyday folks pushing for vaccination are evil.

Same with the ‘resistant’ folks – they, too, are acting on righteous and rational reasons.

So let me give you an answer that’ll help:

Rather than using this as another excuse to feel angry, smug, outraged or indignant… do better.

Show wisdom and compassion.

Consider why people believe what they believe, while you assume they have virtue and intelligence.

Unite, rather than divide.

Live better, protect you and yours, and demand more from your leaders.

Enjoy a Neural Reset or three.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: