The Winter of Our Discontent

Many of you are probably familiar with Steinbeck’s novel, The Winter of Our Discontent, which essentially means now we are in a period of misery. This particular phrase perfectly sums up what I fear we are heading towards this winter.

Everything is reaching a boiling point simultaneously. It would appear it all started with the Pandemic and ensuing lockdowns that paralyzed and put a deep dent in our economy.

We never had the time to catch our breath that the war in Ukraine covertly switched places with COVID. Basically, we woke up, one morning, toting Ukrainian flags without asking ourselves why, breaking all ties with Russia, and the media diligently waving in a new cycle of terror and grief to keep us all on the edge of our seats.

The global drama has been intensified by a climate crisis that gained momentum this summer, with devastating consequences.

I won’t go into the gory details, I’ll leave those to mainstream media. Besides, it doesn’t take an expert economist to figure out that the combination of extreme heat, fires, droughts, flooding, supply chain, and transportation disruption means that we will be seeing a lot less food on store shelves and the inflated cost of certain foods will make these unaffordable to many people.

Let’s not forget the disproportionate price hikes of fuel and electricity, especially in Italy and Germany, that will bust most households’ finances apart and have already forced many out of business. In Italy, small and medium businesses are shutting down and some of the larger Italian companies are moving to countries such as Romania.

They tell us we will need to turn down the heat this winter and use less gas. In Italy most stovetops are gas. So shall we just eat cold sandwiches to save energy?

How about extending daylight savings through winter this year? Think about what a difference that extra hour of light would make. That extra hour of light at the end of the day would mean all households and buildings would save an hour of energy a day.

In Italy, where I live a small loaf of cheap industrially produced commercial sliced bread costs over 3€. As for fresh baked bread and goods, bakers are getting utility bills that are impossible to contain or pay for that matter. This will force many bakeries to shut down or cut back production and increase the prices of baked goods.

Rice, is also a staple, that traditionally even the poor could afford. That will no longer be the case. Droughts have destroyed rice fields in Europe and Asia this summer. The renowned Arborio Rice used to prepare the acclaimed Italian risotto will be hard to come by soon, as a result of the very poor yields, due to continued droughts this year.

So if you were worried about product shortages, such as microchips or construction materials, think again, because trust me, food and energy shortages will have tragic consequences.

Meanwhile the rich will keep partying and flying around in their private jets just as they did during the Corona Virus Pandemic.

The Rothchilds, Gates, Besoz, and Musks of this world will keep eating risottos, oysters, and caviar washed down with Crystal and taking weekend field trips on one of Besoz’s rocketships, burning a whopping 11,000 pounds of fuel per second just for liftoff. That’s two million times the rate at which fuel is burned by the average family car. The rest of us will need to make do, get a bike, walk, sleep in our parkas, stop showering and eat cold dishes.

Published by Maddalena Di Gregorio

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in” Robert L. Stevenson

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