Are you a billionaire or millionaire looking for a hobby? Look no further! Have I got a deal for you.
Many creative people need financing. I am one of them. I love to write, act, direct, and produce film. The only thing that hinders me is money. I work a regular job just to survive and maintain my position as a productive member of society. That takes 40 hours a week! Crazy, right? The money I make in that 40 hours goes to pay for surviving the other 128 hours left in the week, you know; rent, food, transportation to get to the place I put in those 40 hours just to pay for being able to go there in the first place. Don’t get me wrong – it is indeed a privilege to have a place to go to where they pay you to be there. Lots of people don’t have that. Then, on the other hand, lots of people have a lot of money to begin with and go to work anyway, taking a job away from somebody else who could use that job.
This big idea is not just for me. This concept is multi-faceted, serving more than one purpose.
It will create jobs, raise awareness about environmental issues, and assist scientists in solving our biggest environmental problems. In short, it will save the world. At least for the foreseeable future, which only means tomorrow. After that, who knows? Aside from the fact that in 600 million years Earth will no longer be able to sustain life due to natural causes, and in 7.5 billion years, the planet will be absorbed by the Sun, everything that ever happened here will vanish, wiping away any proof that we ever existed at all, save for the few probes and interminable radio waves we sent out into the cosmos, in the meantime, we can live in the moment, and do what is right for the planet and humanity as we know it today.
Rich people should stop working.
By taking the rich out of the workforce it would create a trickle up effect for people who really do need jobs because of all the vacancies that would arise. In essence, the rich should just play. Retire from whatever job you have and just spend your money on something cool. But instead of a speedboat, get a research vessel and fill it with scientists. Instead of opening a bunch of fast food franchises, fund an artist or performer. Instead of building on new ground and tearing into what small tracts of land are left for the animals, build upon those places we have already trod.
I want to make it clear that I make this appeal to those we may consider extremely or ultra-wealthy. The definition of extreme or ultra-wealthy will vary based on your viewpoint. For those with a net worth below two million dollars, this may not be exactly right for you, but you decide. Everybody with more than two million dollars in net worth should never work another day. You should be able to budget whatever you have to last for the rest of your life and splurge on things that will make a difference to a lot of people who need jobs and help make the world an even better place than it already is.
Just ask yourself “How can I improve Earth?”
Here is one idea.
Getting rid of golf is a start. Golf serves as the perfect example of imbalance in the world. Now, you may love golf and watching other people getting rich just because they can whack a ball into a tiny hole far away. But why? I am certain there are endless arguments for maintaining golf, but none of them will get me to like the game. Let me be clear. I do not hate golf. I just don’t like what it does.
The first thing it does is evict nature from nature itself. Groundskeepers will argue that golf courses are a haven for wildlife, when they are indeed, the opposite. The land is stripped and replaced with a crop that serves only as a flat surface to find a little ball. It barely feeds anything and is tended to with fertilizers that run off with rainwater into the ocean to feed algae blooms. While algae blooms naturally occur, they are toxic, and rob the water of oxygen to choke fish and marine mammals, stabbing the ocean in the heart of the food chain. Nitrogen and phosphorus compounds from fertilizers cause algae and bacteria in the water to reproduce rapidly. When these organisms die, the decomposition process depletes oxygen in the water, and kills fish and other aquatic life. So, that’s one part.
Now, let’s look at the land. Moles and gophers are routinely eradicated just because they den underground, and with a preference for prairie life, gophers will burrow up to the surface and make holes that golf courses don’t like. So they get shot or poisoned or trapped, and their natural predators, like foxes, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, and birds of prey, are left hungry, or eating poison. Those predators are in turn seen as pests, and may also be shot or trapped, all so that a golfer can go out and feel like they are one with nature when they happen to see a squirrel. Deer and alligator are also routinely shooed away. Some are removed and killed, just for trespassing in their native habitat.
The immediate land and waters surrounding golf courses are not the only victims. You can’t play golf without clubs. These are made with steel, titanium, or carbon fiber. You can make a stick out of any kind of wood, but generally, this is what you find for sale in the pro shops. While all of these materials are recyclable, carbon fiber uses 14 times more energy to create than steel and will last forever if not recycled, which is extremely difficult and also expensive to do. Recycling carbon fiber requires extremely high heat to melt, and on either end, when creating new or recycled carbon fiber, the oxidation and carbonization furnaces and industrial ovens may emit hydrogen cyanide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide. Golf clubs are not the only use for carbon fiber, but the creation of carbon fiber does contribute to global warming and uses more energy than other options. Then there is mining. We could go on, chapter and verse, about the ills of the mining industry, but there will always be mining, and golf clubs will be right there as a main beneficiary.
Now think about the tons of gasoline used by mowing equipment to cut all those gigantic lawns. Less mowing means less pollution going into the atmosphere, and less fossil fuels being used. You may argue that battery powered mowers will solve the problem, but they don’t. Mining lithium requires half a million gallons of water to produce a ton of the stuff, plus there is toxic runoff involved. But don’t worry, it’s not in your backyard. Lithium mainly comes from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Tibet. What’s a few dead yaks and llamas? The process of recycling lithium batteries is now in its infancy. The main problem with that is it is not cost effective, so it basically doesn’t get done. Around 5% of all lithium-ion batteries get recycled, and that’s just for the other hardware inside, like carbon fiber. Battery recycling, as well-intentioned as it sounds, pumps even more toxins into the air.
So, here is something unconventional that would be nice to do for the environment that only a rich person could do. Buy a golf course and close it. Give the land back to nature. You may think that closing a golf course will cost a few dozen groundskeepers and clubhouse attendants their jobs, but you could still employ them to do something else as stewards of your newfound reserve. Look at all the good you will do for the world.
I know closing a few golf courses will not reverse course on the environmental impacts done by everything mentioned here, but every little bit helps. It makes a dent. The most important thing it will do is raise awareness. When they ask why you closed a golf course, you may cite these examples of consumption and show what you did to bring pollution down a notch.
It may be noted that golf contributes to thousands of jobs already. Some fashion designer is building a better spiked heel right this minute. The clothes, golf bags, electric golf carts, incessant advertising, and tournaments that preempt regularly scheduled network television all contribute millions of dollars to an activity that in effect does nothing but destroy.
You may also argue about what great folks professional golfers are and all they do for humanity by contributing millions to various causes. How nice that so many have found tax shelters disguised as charity. Professional sports in general are a behemoth. The rationale for propelling any single person into seven, eight, or nine digit salaries and endorsements because they are skilled in their chosen hobby should give us pause. Does anybody truly deserve to earn more than the combined salaries of an entire small town? Not really. It doesn’t make sense. This is why I can’t support sports or the companies aligned with them. Over the top and off the charts salaries don’t do anything to win my admiration.
Some players make their small fortunes and get out. They move back to whatever community they came from, buy their mother a house and share their wealth without grandstanding. From a moral perspective, this is better use of wealth and talent than just staying in the game and making more, just to make more.
Andrew Luck recently retired from the NFL citing multiple injuries and saying “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live.” Working in pain to entertain fanatics who think they own you because they support your team is no way to live. At age 29, Andrew Luck announced his retirement, thanked those he thought he should, and walked off the field to sneers and boos. While being verbally assaulted as you choose to do what you want with your own life is extremely sad, it is equally admirable to see somebody get out. While it wasn’t about money, he did get a $24 million parting bonus. Not a bad way to get on with your life. Especially when you see the true colors of disrespectful booing fans. Why would he want to do anything for them?
This is a prime example of what is wrong with sports. It builds players into glorious figures which feeds fans the idea that what they are watching is all about them. Fans huddle together and cheer for their team or player or race car driver and build upon an illusion that the outcome of the match has some effect on them. Unless they are actually gambling, it does not. The mentality of the sports fan is an illusion of grandeur and they pay handsomely for it. Sporting events siphon millions of dollars out of fans wallets to pay for everything that makes the sports the behemoth they have become and overpay everyone involved.
While I hold no harm against Andrew Luck, handing him $24 million on his way out the door maintains a mystique that sports stars are somehow above others. It builds upon the mentality that sports are more important than they should be. Being paid for quitting your job is senseless. For the payee, it must only make sense on a balance sheet in order to help avoid taxes.
But what will Andrew Luck do now?
Something good, I hope.
For those lucky enough to be able to live the life they want to live, I hope they will do great things for the rest of the world. Taking up a personal agenda that includes funding science and documenting it with budding filmmakers is one task I wish more millionaires would act upon. Funding artists and filmmakers for the sake of art is another.
What artists and filmmakers need, ideally, are those who will hand over their money, get out of the way, and let them work. They don’t need benefactors who will tell them what to paint, sculpt, write, or film. Artists already know what they want to produce. They just need financing without strings attached. They want to be able to work and show everyone what they have done, and be able to say “I did this” regardless of whatever critique may come. They don’t want loans because they know that art will rarely produce money, and loans do nothing but pressure people to do things they do not want to in order to reach mass appeal, which generally means compromising their vision. Artists are best when left alone to work.
For me, I would love to be funded by somebody who understands that I have art to produce, stories to tell through film. I can show you the scripts, and I know how to cast and produce. I can act and direct and know my limitations. I would never cast myself inappropriately. In fact, I’m not all that keen on acting in my own productions. I prefer working with other directors when the camera is pointed at me. My ideal, of course, is to meet that benefactor who wants nothing in return except to see the finished product and maybe go to a couple of film festivals, who would also be proud to say “I did this.” They would understand that there is no likelihood of return on investment, but if they did make money or get an award, that would be great, too.
If you are one of those with finances to spare, who want to do something for the world, please consider these options. Retire, play, and spend your money. If you like the cut of my jib, please contact me personally. Let’s talk.
If you decide to return a golf course to nature, please let me know about it. If not a golf course, maybe some prime real estate. Instead of tract housing, just leave it alone. The animals will thank you.
Too bad the Brazilian Amazon isn’t for sale. Maybe that would save it.