"Our forests and commons... are a hindrance to industry, and nurseries of idleness and insolence," so said Quaker and enclosures advocate John Bellers in 1695.

I was going to write an inspirational piece about food waste - which is really important - but that will have to wait till next time, because we need to understand how our own Prime Minister can seriously suggest that the measure of a university degree is how much it enables the graduate to earn.

By this standard, there would be no dancers, theatre directors, writers or artists. Unless, of course, we started to pay them what they deserve, which would quadruple their earnings and instantly solve the problem of 'low value degrees'.

Ham & High: Sheila Hayman is shocked at the PM's comments about university degreesSheila Hayman is shocked at the PM's comments about university degrees (Image: Sheila Hayman)

How has this happened? Capitalism, and specifically capitalist economics, which privatised the forests and commons mentioned above, and seduced us into seeing ourselves, not as living beings working just enough to cover our needs, but literal units of productivity.

And producing what? Under our current economic system, what counts as adding value, as GDP - is insane. Cutting down forests and building prisons add value: playing music or looking after your elderly parents doesn't. As long as you work, happiness isn't valued and misery isn't costed.

And this is the system we are being told has to be kept going at all costs, including the uncounted costs to the planet. It doesn't matter what powers our factories or vehicles if we keep taking more out of the earth than it can replenish every year. And currently we're taking four times more.

So, any day in Oxford Street you can see the results of 300 years of being told our purpose is to consume and produce, not help each other or have fun.

And until we learn to define 'growth' as things that don't need resources, but make us, and the natural world, healthier and happier - we're stuffed.

Think back to the early days of the pandemic, when you couldn't shop, or go to work, or anywhere much. Remember the joys of gardening, baking, board games, long phone calls, walking, staring at the sky - just hanging out? What's a bigger waste of time: that kind of joy, or working an extra hour at a job that's making you miserable and the earth sick?

So, what's the most sustainable thing you can do today? Maybe just - very enjoyably - nothing.

Sheila Hayman is a member of Climate Emergency Camden (CEC) climateemergencycamden.org.