ConsumerismEconomicsFood ShortagesGlobal Warming/Climate ChangePeak OilPopulationSociety

Powering Down – Will We?

Most underestimate the implications…

Through our Hollywood-tinted glasses we’re accustomed to happy endings. The instinctive “it won’t happen to me” mentality is alive and well, but, whilst perhaps preserving the comfortable status quo (if not our sanity), it does little to promote objectivity. In a world threatened by global warming, potential constructive accomplishments are thus too often hampered and bogged down in the realm of discourse and debate.

In plain English – we need to get real.

On this note, check out the following clip. Richard Heinburg, the author of the book “Powering Down“, has much to say on possible strategies, or failing that, outcomes, for our post peak-oil world. I think it’s time we really examine, not just computer climate models – but societal projections.

Part I

Part II

This is a drama in the making – and auditions for roles are still underway. What part would you like to play?

Reduce, reuse, recycle, conserve, shop local – or don’t shop at all – compost, grow your own, harass local government, spread the word and lead by example. More and more are getting on board, but, still, we have a long way to go…. In fact, although environmentalists have been at this since long before I could spell, I’m sure most early pioneers would readily acknowledge their efforts were, in the grand scheme of things, only a pre-cursor to what must yet happen. Our journey to sustainability and health has really barely begun.

The task set before us is, of course, not one set aside for a few scattered individuals – a few enviro-gurus threatening fire and brimstone, or the specialist ‘department’, down the hall and on the left. Lasting change and reversals to global warming and economic unsustainability can only move ahead apace through a broad and deep collective determination. We have, most certainly, reached a tipping point in ‘attention’ on the subject, and even, by and large, a consensus on the base issues – but we have yet to reach that critical mass in tangible, concerted action. This is, and should be, cause for alarm.

Over the last few decades there has been every kind of delay tactic and obfuscation attempt industry, politics and individuals can conjure. During those same decades, where industry may have cleaned up in some areas – they have, almost universally, only done so where there was clear financial benefit to themselves, or where required to do so by law. Simultaneously, economies have scaled up – in line with our current short-sighted economic policies – and our populations have done likewise, threatening to continually over-offset any efficiencies we may gain. Our lifestyles have become ever more energy hungry, and billions from ‘developing’ nations are moving forward in the queue, desperate to subscribe.

As a blogger monitoring many angles on our current situation – one can get tempted to be swayed and blown about on fickle winds of opinion. This is particularly true in regards to the level of urgency this topic demands: Do we have a lot of time to make the necessary societal transition? Is it too late? Are people internalising the consequences of inaction? Am I? Do people have the hope, concern and willpower to push through obstacles to reach the further shore, or will apathy or despair lead us to commit even more fully to the selfishness and greed that put us in this position in the first place – positioning humanity for a last ditched every-man-for-himself scramble for our remaining, diminishing resources?

We live in a ‘Wikipedia World’ now. Consider this online encyclopedia – the product of our international community. Although entirely useful and likely largely accurate, it is not so much loaded with facts, as it is loaded with what the majority have decided are facts. If Wikipedia were accessible in the 18th century, it would surely document the healthful properties of smoking cigars, and that idiot who pushed for a hand-washing regimen for surgeons would likely be profiled accordingly.

Our current state of global cooling ‘activity’, likewise, is a reflection of our global consensus. But here the consensus is, wait for it: we have no consensus.

In these circumstances – what is a ‘balanced stance’? And, if we err, should it be on the side of conservatism, or caution?

And, yes… that last question is rhetorical.

Further Reading:

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