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Reply #1: You're not going to get both [View All]

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Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Environment/Energy Donate to DU
The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
1. You're not going to get both
"concurrent with a change in our consumptive culture"

"and the development of an abundant...alternative"

Why would we develop an abundant alternative? To use less of whatever we developed? That seems a little silly. If it's cheap and abundant, we're going to use more of it. We'll find ways to use it. We'll force ourselves to use it, to help one more person, to create one more job, etc.

"But our markets might save the day, or something better might come along. One pithy maxim (the Stone Age ended before we ran out of stone) captures this sentiment by reminding us that rocks were replaced with something better: metals. And the same story was true with whale oil: Despite concerns in the late 1800s that whaling would cause the extinction of these marvelous marine mammals (peak whale, if you will), we ran out of whale oil customers before we ran out of whales because a competitive product namely, petroleum-derived kerosene came along that was better than whale oil for illumination."

And each one of those improvements increased the impact we have on and in the environment. Yet somehow, just because we call it green I guess, our alternatives to oil seem to give us the idea that we'll float through the air like a gust of wind, or a ray of sunshine, or float by like a calm wave of water. Of course, a large enough gust of wind, a hot enough ray of sunshine, a big enough wave of water, can do a lot of damage. We want to harness that energy. We want to extract that energy. We want to use that energy. Consistently. Constantly. In more and more ways. We call it green though, so it must be good. It's green.
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