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Old 02-06-2012, 02:17 PM
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Default Wall Street Journal: The fallacy of "green consumerism"

A lot of people are convinced, that we can "consume our way out of the crisis", by replacing gasoline cars with ethanol or hybrid or electric cars, by recycling, more efficient light bulbs and high speed rail. Technology will save us, this says and what it means is that technology will save our way of life a while longer - and actually increase it while at the same time giving us the feeling that it is greener than grass. Some environmentalists have gotten that this "bright green future" is not exactly realistic and that basically it is a mirage created by economic forces to make us believe that we can save the planet by consuming it - just by consuming it in a more efficient way.

So I found it interesteing to find in the (well known leftist radical ecological ) "Wall Street Journal" this article:
The Problem With Going Green by David Owen - WSJ.com
Quote:
If only all big problems could be tackled with product substitution. We're consumers at heart, and our response to difficulties of all kinds usually involves consumption in one form or another. My car's a problem? Tell me what to drive instead. Wrong water heater? I'll switch. Kitchen counters not green? I'll replace them. The challenge arises when consumption itself is at issue. The world faces a long list of environmental challenges, yet most so-called solutions are either irrelevant or make the real problems worse.
[...]
Flying from New York to Melbourne in 1958, on a propeller plane, consumed more energy per person than my 2010 flight did, but it was "greener" nevertheless. It required stops in San Francisco, Hawaii, Canton Island, Fiji and Sydney, and it cost each coach passenger something like a quarter of that year's U.S. median family income, each way.

If comparably slow and costly flights were the only travel option available today, I and almost all of my fellow passengers would certainly have stayed home: a gain for the environment, though a loss for the global economy. The only unambiguously effective method of reducing the long-term carbon and energy cost of air travel is to fly less—a behavioral change, not a technological one.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:08 PM
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That is why we need sustainable technologies, like electric powered engines, solar, wind, tidal power, more energy efficient housing in terms of heating and so on.

However, this will never be possible in a system which measures everything in money and profit, such as the prevailing capitalist system. Sustainability is not impossible, it's only a matter of making things so that it can be possible.

One of the biggest things is the amount of population, that is way too big, because it taxes the planet too much, and only causes suffering for humanity when there aren't enough stuff to go around. In a system based on consumption however, population is everything, as it enables larger volumes, thus ensuring larger profits, and so on.

You should try to combine your efforts with science oriented people to help save this planet, because we will not be reverting back to the stone age any time soon.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
well known leftist radical
Well, there's your problem - would you ask a financial trader for their opinion on regulation, a politician on electoral reform, or a terrorist for security tips? Of course not - those people have agendas.

Opinion pages are just that; opinions. There's a reason journals don't have them.

Also, as I've pinted out before, that entire article can be distilled down to "overpopulation is the real problem", which is, of course, correct.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:48 PM
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Well if you ask a financial trader and investor on this, I would expect them to say either "oh no, those electric cars wont make it, it is better to make more regular cars, so invest in that" or "great new opportunity - electric cars, green energy, windmills, lots of money to be made with this new economy" - usually more and more are taking on the second option. I would not expect anyone from the economic sector to say "whatever you do, its not working" or "there are too many people". So this is why I was surprised to see such a statement exactly in such a journal. Which of course is in no way leftist or radical at all (just in case someone missed that irony).

I think the key here and which I wanted to point out is: "[...]a behavioral change, not a technological one" because this is what I keep arguing until I get tired - it is the fundamental conclusion of the prevalence of Jevons Paradox, that technological solutions do not solve a social problem and that overconsumption (that includes overpopulation in a way) is a social problem of a society that believes in infinite growth, infinite human intellect/ability, that to have more is better always. With these paradigms, no technology can solve the ecological crisis because these axioms are regarded as primary and thus stand in the way of applying the technology of any level in a way to solve problems or lower impact.
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Stop terraforming Earth (wordpress)

"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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