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Renaming ysmad - does your share make a difference?

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12/29/2009 -- Renaming ysmad - does your share make a difference?

With all I read meanwhile, I was wondering if our domain-name - "your share makes a difference" - is appropriate. I was indeed thinking of renaming this site. The trigger were mostly two books/articles.

One of them was again Derrick Jensen with his book "Endgame". I guess if he saw ysmad's green tips, he'd smile at them, at best. In the mentioned book he writes: "I mean, sure, go ahead and live a responsible environmental life; recycle, compost, ride a push-bike; but do it because it is the right, moral thing to do - not because it's going to save the planet.". More drastically, he writes somewhere else in the book: "(...) changing our lifestyles will not stop the culture from destroying the planet. The system needs to be broken down.".

The other trigger has been a study on possible developments of society (in Germany anyway) . Unfortunately it's not available in English and some terms almost impossible to translate. Anyway, the one of the four scenarios they describe incorporates more or less a living by "reduce, reuse, recycle", or as they put it: "Die grünmoralische Entschleunigungs-Ökonomie, Verzichts-Kapitalismus". Here the possible risks of this scenario, as the authors see them, put quite funny (or sarcastic?): "Engstirniges Öko-Spießertum, naive Visionen einer Heidi-Gutmenschenrepublik, aufbauend auf der Verzichtsideologie der Nachhaltigkeitsbüßer ('Das können wir der Natur nicht weiter antun') könnten die Folge sein. In diesem Szenario treffen sich die antikapitalistischen Affekte (...) mit den Sehnsüchten grüner Fundis und kulturpessimistischen Naturromantikern (...)" - in short, the fatuous vision of naive, nature-addicted humans, who preach a reduction of consumerism.

This study by the way also outlines a much hoped-for scenario, that is that technology will help us out of our non-sustainable lifestyles. If only we are inventive enough, we'll sooner or later (?!) find remedies for our growth-, energy- and waste-problems. And everybody seems to like and agree to this - it's positive, it does not require any cuts on consumption, and best of all: it pushes responsibility away from individuals, even far away enough from politicians to take this standpoint (e.g. Germany's Minster for the Environment, Norbert Röttgen in a talkshow on 12/3) - without naming how, and more importantly, when this will be achieved.

As we see ourselfes in a situation, where we realize our consumerism rapidly destroys the very environment we live in (see statistics page) and we realize we live beyond our means (see e.g. WWF's "Living Planet Report"), isn't it common sense to first of all reduce consumption?! Sure, as mid- and long-term remedies we should also think of a system change (Derrick Jensen's view) or respective technology changes (the hope of politicians) - but the only immediate and readily available, and i.m.o. unavoidable measure is: reduce.

To be very clear: the "shares to make a difference" are not collected as the solution. And there will not be "the" one and only solution anyway. But as long as strategists, scientists, talkers and other intelligence of this planet are still standing still, discussing which route to go, they are the quickest and easiest way to do something, now, for everybody.

Even if the single impact might be little, individual acts sum up, and more importantly, as online-commentators to an article "Forget Shorter Showers" put it: "Living simply may not change or save the world on it's own, but it is a symbolic start to a larger movement", "[p]ersonal and symbolic acts are not simply feel good gestures but meaningful forms of community formation and communication". Similarily, would you say an individual's share to Wikipedia makes a difference?

Finally, "your share makes a difference" is correct as long as it holds true that we can change anything at all. For some, the green tip might just be "Take out a dam" (as a tribute to Derrick Jensen we put the same online :)). If something is going to change, then through somebody of us. Add your own green tips to the list. The recently failed Copenhagen Conference taught us again, that we do not need to count on politicians. They are helpless themselfes against a system of unconditional growth and consumerism. The same is true for the industry leaders, as long as it is economical to exploit and destroy ("we just produce market demands"). Jensen in a 2009 video: "The only miracle we're gonna get is us".

Hence we'll keep our domain name: Your share makes a difference.
wk




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