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The Preachy Blog

Quoting, continued

Gypsy moth caterpillar from top Red dragonfly on log cricket mossy tree

4/15/2011 -- Quoting, continued

As promised, more quoting. This time a section from Scott Russell Sanders' "A Conservationists Manifesto", which (the section) would also perfectly describe our little website:

"It's plain that Earth cannot support for much longer the extravagant way of life so common in rich countries, nor can it support the spreading of that extravagance to poor countries. Sooner or later we'll burn up all the cheap oil, we'll pump the aquifers dry, we'll cut down the last big trees, we'll fish the oceans bare, we'll plow up the last arable land, and taint the last clean air. The life of endless consumption is devastating to the planet and bound to fail. The question is not whether it will fail but when, and how the end of our spree will come - by careful preparation, or by catastrophe.
Knowing all this, how should a person act? We might shrug off the knowledge, pretend we can go on building vast houses, driving enormous cars, shopping around the clock, wiping out other species, fouling the atmosphere, polluting water, and squandering soil forever and ever. We might admit the gravity of our situation, while counting on scientists and engineers to come up with a technical fix. We might place our faith in the free market, believing it will somehow furnish a second, unspoiled earth for our use, once the price is right. We might concede that neither economics nor technology will enable us to pursue infinite growth on a finite globe, and so decide to live it up while we can, leaving future generations to figure out how to survive on a ransacked planet. Or we might seek to live more lightly, reducing our demands on Earth, devising or recovering simple, elegant, durable practices that could serve our descendants long after the current binge of consumption has withered away."

"Knowing all this, how should a person act?"

Wouldn't it be the most sensible step and even common sense to first of all cut back on consumption? Many countries these days debate on opting out of nuclear power, and struggle to find answers on how to make up for the energy. Windturbines? Coal and "carbon capture and storage"? Even more dams for hydropower? If we'd be honest we would acknowledge none of them are sustainable. But there is one energy source which is worth hundreds of nuclear power plants and is totally sustainable; it is available starting tomorrow if we want: reduce consumption. I believe (let me throw out a second totally unscientific number) that we could easily save 25% of our energy consumption, right now.

Take mobility for example. Today's fuel economy of new cars still hovers around an average of 21mpg - it would be easy and no significant inconvenience to buy new cars only which make 30mpg, or even 40mpg; plus not leaving the car idling on parking lots, in drive-throughs and for warming-up or cooling-down. If that's not enough, sharing a ride here and there and going by bike now and then should bring consumption down far beyond 25% (and with it the likelihood of oil "spills" and a whole lot of other issues).

But of course nobody dares to propose that.
The economy! And, of course: The elections!

Truth is, our economy, based on natural resources after all (read: today's economy, based on the exploitation of natural resources) will come to a halt anyway. And although some votes should not be the driving force for people who claim to "lead" us, we all are the reason they don't act. Sorry to say: only your share makes a difference.

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