Monday, September 15, 2008

Considering. . .


Considering that for the world to approach sustainability, the entire US population need to undergo drastic revisions in expectations and lifestyle. To quantify the amount of reduction needed, so far as I can determine, with global population where it is at the moment, that means our personal share of World NDP is about US 3000 dollars--in other words, if we're over that mark, if we're over that level of consumption, personally, or as a society, we're sliding down the slope to ecosystem and financial collapse.

Or, in terms of resources, your fair share of the global commonwealth is a little less than 3 acres. If you require more than that to maintain your standard of living, it can only come from someone else's share of the humankind's commonwealth. As an "ethical" person, it's near impossible to escape this conclusion.

The average American in material resources requires a 90% reduction in consumption to be anywhere near this mark. At this moment, this morning, watching greed win again, it's pretty hard to be hopeful in the slightest about any of that.

Still, the fact remains: If we refuse to live in a sustainable manner, we will consume until there is nothing of excess to consume, and at that moment we will be forced to live "sustainably." In fact, the crunch will come far before the moment resources are played out. Those of power and privileged will draw on and steal from larger and larger percentages of the world population, impoverishing even more billions of people, some of whom may be us. I guess I come back to my core premise again: I should live a sensible minimalist lifestyle--because at the moment it's the right thing to do, and it's going to eventually be what I am forced to do.

On other notes: here are interesting thoughts for the day.

2 comments:

nen said...

I am always sceptical about these kinds of plans - despite the egos of the scientists, we really don't know that much about the interrelations of the hyper-complex systems they claim to know about.

It strikes me that using massive quantities of sulphates as a cooling agent in the atmosphere would lead pretty quickly to acid rain, which would lead to tree death as seen in the forests of the western world, which would lead to massive releases of stored carbon. But I am not a climate scientist, so what would I know...

jaywfitz said...

I agree. It's simply interesting because the leading edge of science is so far beyond the question of whether it is happening or not that the question is really more about what to do about it. This is a notion that is completely lost on the public perception of the issue.