Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on May 13, 2008
When it comes to saving the planet, are personal choices enough? Quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of the Chicken Little predictions that the earth is on the verge of collapse. It’s not that I buy into the “Global warming? What global warming?” claims, it’s just that every week, somebody new writes an article about how quickly the end will come if we don’t change immediately.
Anyone who is paying attention will have noticed that oil hit $125 per barrel on April 28.
Hmm… So, what does that mean? Because I don’t see anyone driving less — our dear President’s interim solution after Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf. And I certainly don’t see people slowing down — as far as I know, I’m the only one pushing this solution, even though by dropping from 70 to 60, we would save at least 3%, which is good for the pocketbook and for CO2 levels.
But at what price does it really become important in a society built on personal debt?
I also believe that U.S. know-how and industrial might could create a new energy economy — with new technologies based on radiation and weather rather than what’s in the ground — and it could happen in a matter of years with the right incentives. A new economy will save industrial economies, but what else will it do? We must also peer into the glass ball of unintended consequences, like the destruction wrought by monocropping ethanol fuels.
What will it take to change? Courage. Courage to tell Americans and other industrialized populations that we must change. We must not only change the amount of energy we use, we must also change how we use and where we find energy. In the fattest nation on earth, burning a few pounds of potential energy around the midsection to power the lighting in your home might be a good place to start. There’s more energy around us than we could ever use. Unfortunately, products like this are not available yet.
Let’s also clear up the Chicken Little misconception. The end is not near for most of us, although if seas rise like predicted and temperatures change as much as expected, there will be suffering. We can turn climate change back on itself, however. It starts with courage.
For more on this topic, check out Mother Jones.