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Reply #40: much more importantly. [View All]

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wial Donating Member (362 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-29-09 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #36
40. much more importantly.
let's not kid ourselves. I once did a napkin calculation (caveat emptor) and figured with a lifetime of conservation, cutting my energy use in half, I could personally slow down the moment peak oil is reached by 1/3 of a second. Strength in numbers though right? Get a hundred friends to do the same, over a lifetime: 30 seconds! A thousand friends! Five minutes!

I know peak oil and global biosphere collapse (because that's what it will be) are not the same thing. They're related in a bad way though: when we run out of oil the problem gets worse because then unless we can stop it reliance on coal goes up.

The point being, this problem is big enough local solutions just don't make a difference, and personal conservation is a religious practice at best, not that there's anything wrong with that, and I get why Gandhi practiced austerities. And for our own sakes we want to make sure we don't get personally dependent on resource we don't actually need and won't get to enjoy for much longer. Just know we have to fight this at the source -- the medieval extractive industry corporations and the PR firms they employ to keep us taking it for granted it's ok to let them liquidate the energy cycles of ecosystems (as Aldo Leopold so brilliantly put it so long ago now in his essay "The Land Ethic").

Yes we need lifestyle changes, but until we can break the grip of the advertising industry that successfully sold a huge number of people on useless, gas guzzling SUVs by branding them with names taken from the parts of nature they destroy (not unlike our helicopter fleets, named for the tribes they genocided with the same kind of guns back in the 19th century) ... we aren't going to get too far. Capitalism thrives on exploitation, liquidation, abstraction, dehumanization. Big equations that simply don't transmit the real value of things from one side of the equals sign to the other.

I can see why the climate change issue is so threatening to cold warriors. Stopping it requires stopping some of the oldest most reactionary forces on the planet, and lord knows we're in no state to manage a successful revolution anytime soon, given the general education level, especially in the US since Reagan.

Personal lifestyle choices matter because they are means of reminding ourselves that this affects us directly and that we must exert moral will, and like yard signs in an election campaign they let the neighbors know you care too, but they aren't going to do much more than that.

You are completely right. We must change the government, and beyond that the basic way we manage the creation and distribution of goods. We must proactively contain the population explosion much more aggressively than is being done now (my idea was addictive contraceptives for both genders) and we must put large sections of the planet off limits to human commercial activity. Even after mobilizing planetary awareness and winning enforceable agreements on all salient points, we must engage in massive geo-engineering projects to reverse the cataclysmic change already well underway, particularly in the arctic.

Otherwise, quite literally, we are toast.
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