It took all of human history until 1940 to reach 1 billion people. Now we are at 7. In 30 years expect 3 billion more. I don't think my eco footprint really matters anymore. Any saving I accrue will simply be eaten up by the flood of new humans devouring resources. I like being independent, but I don't think I'll bother inconveniencing myself as the game is over. Industrial society will continue to grow until there is an ecological collapse. The flaws of global laissez faire capitalism are quite apparent.
We had our chance back in the 80's. I was so environmentally conscious back then. This was the baby boomers great moment. Like the greatest generation facing down Hitler, going to the moon or eradicating polio. But when they had their moment they chose greed. They had no character like those before them. Now we are all screwed. I think I'll take a long plane flight and see the world. Show my kids the coral reefs and dolphins before they are all gone. The land up north here will become more fertile for a time as it becomes more temperate. That is all my kids will need. Land. some solar panels and a bit of know how. Grow your own food and make your own power. That is the best form of rebellion now.
Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Location: Underwood, WA (USDA zone 7, Sunset zone 3) - in the Columbia Gorge highlands
Tyler Ludens wrote:it seems to me that one does the right thing not because everyone else is doing it, but because it is the right thing to do.
After spending time worrying about whether the-stuff-really-was-going-to-hit-the-fan and whether I should be preparing for it, I woke up to the blindingly obvious - do it anyway, because it's the right thing to do. Why be part of the problem?
Though I can understand your feelings as I have days like that as well, I know I "get over it" and I think you will as well.
"Overpopulation" isn't a given. How many humans can populate the planet isn't known. Adding what the earth can sustain by various methods (organic, sustainable, etc) further blurs the picture. In many areas, population is still very sparse.
The world - and especially our country - is coming to a crossroads. Call it a "day of reckoning" if you will, but *something* is coming. Who knows what the result of that will be? It may "solve" the perceived overpopulation situation, or it may help to drive the point that "we can't go on like this forever" home more effectively than mere preaching can.
As for eco-footprints, as others have said - do what's right because it's the right thing to do - not because others do or don't do it. Personally, I do what I do because it's the best thing I can do, NOT because of what somebody else tries to convince me of what they feel is right.
As for capitalism failing, I have to disagree with you there. Artificially cheap oil and subsidies for corn and the like are what deserve much of the blame for our environmental problems. Neither of these things is remotely related to "free-market capitalism". It has not failed as it has not existed. In fact, were oil and other commodities allowed to rise to their TRUE prices, consumption would start to limit itself, alternatives would become viable, and companies would FLOCK to produce replacements. Government subsidies and hare-brained schemes to push immature technologies only confuse things further and cause problems.
Go back to bed, get up on the other side of it. I have yet to meet someone who doesn't have "down" days.
Joined: Feb 22, 2010
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
(IF 'free market capitalism' means 'maximize owners' (the capitalists ;) profits (the market part), at all cost (the free part)', then that system must use all means, legal and illegal (if the fine is less than the net gain) including eliminating competitors and controlling government, to achieve optimum ROI. Or, maybe it means something else? Although, I think Ayn would find it accurate :)
But, I digress. Here's what I want to throw out... (from http://www.kristinkimball.com/essex-farm - I'm looking forward to a 'doer's' further rumination on the subject. I think it's permie, somehow or other... and biochar might figure in somewhere ? ;) Please let me know if I'm copy/pasting 'illegally'......
"Essex Farm Note
Week 8, 2012
Remember the week 6 note where Kristin mentioned Who can catch the most sunlight, and keep it? Well she’s away this week and that means I’m here to take you into the deep end of the pond regarding that sentence. Let me warn you in advance, the train of thinking I’ve been on the past few months may be a runaway train. You might want to step off now before that train crashes. Ready?
Here we are, eating carrots, popping popcorn, raising kids, raising ourselves, having one of the easiest and most wonderful lives available to hominids since there were hominids (4 million years ago, so I hear). Yet… what if… there is an unseen price to it? What if all those social rights people who make us feel bad about hunger and cleft palates in Africa and all those god-awful scientists who keep telling us the earth is heating up are right? What if our lives are reducing the quality of life for the other 7 billion people in the world and for our kids and our kids’ kids? Possible? Remotely possible? Well %#$*!
Not that I and others haven’t had these thoughts before, but somehow now after almost a decade of “sustainable” horse farming I am seeing it all fresh again. And I’m getting awful fired up. Fired up to help myself, my family, my friends and neighbors (near and far) create a life that is easy to conceive of, yet so difficult to achieve. Sustainable. Wendell Berry wrote about thinking and acting locally, and I think he’s got it. Local means the consequences of production are internalized, visible just outside your doorstep. Global means the costs are externalized, and invisible.
In the billion year plan, none of it is a problem. Geology and most likely biology will wend their way along for a good while, whether the quality of life for hominids improves or declines. But I want it to get better for us. Better for me. Because being rich with good air and good food and good water and good shelter and good brains and good bodies and good family and good friends and good toys is amazing. Out of control great. But I want to have those things and not destroy our future, destroy the quality of life for other people. That is so worth fighting for. (Clearly, I haven’t been getting quite enough farm work lately. Sorry.)
Here’s how I think we do it: we play some games. Some Olympic caliber games. We play who can catch the most sunlight and keep it? All life is fueled by the sun. How can we sustain seven billion people using available sunlight? Can we do it here on this farm, for 100 people, or 200 people, or 8000 people? This is a game, but we will play it by any means necessary. We capture the sun with plants and we let go of that sun with breath and fire. All we need to do is make sure we are capturing more sun than we breathe or burn. Easy. Let’s do it.
We live on the sun’s savings account: fossil fuel. That’s sunlight in plants that just didn’t get to be breathed or burned when those crazy microbes and plants of the Cambrian and post Cambian eras died and went into the earth. We discover this coal and oil and it makes it so easy to be us. A barrel of oil can do the work of ten years hard physical labor. Only one drawback (just kidding, there’s lots of drawbacks): suddenly we’re letting all of that CO2 into the air.
So back to the challenge: who can catch the most sunlight and keep it? A farm has the ability not only to be carbon neutral – that is, catching as much carbon as we release – but to be a carbon sink, so our net energy capture exceeds our net energy release. Net energy profit will live in the soil organic matter, which makes for healthier soil, which makes it easier for us to grow more plants and catch more energy. So we can win the Olympics of Sustainability. Or at least win a bronze.
Alas, we can’t do it by ourselves, and there’s more to it than growing food. It involves every last one of us. From how we move from place to place to how we cook our polenta. It may involve bringing your urine and manure to the farm in buckets (be brave, people, be brave). It may involve a horse and wagon bringing firewood to your door. It may involve…
Alright, here’s the news. Snow coming, and a taste of winter cold. Rob and Jenny and Sabrina and I got in a last ice skate today before the flakes fell. Barbara and Rob and Jenny and Ashley and Courtney and Asa and Ryan and Jori and Steve and Anna and Gus all rocked the farm world this week, from slaughter to egg wash to milking to chores. And they made me laugh a lot. We keep making improvements to the winter animal housing, and the beef are looking a bit more at ease with each improvement. Ryan serviced the Ford 6600 and the JD 4030. Jenny and I measured all the horses for new improved harnesses and collars. Don built a great staircase into the trailer. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this by-any-means-necessary 8th week of 2012. -Mark & Kristin Kimball'
It's time to get positive about negative thinking -Art Donnelly
Joined: Dec 17, 2011
I don't think stopping an ineffective remedy is giving up. Don't they call insanity trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. In the 1980's when the resource burn rate was below that of the biospheres renewal rate it made great sense. I worked very diligently and had some heartening successes.
Since that time the resource burn rate is about 6 to 7 times the biospheres renewal rate with population eating any gains technology gives us. The only way forward I see is environmental collapse leading to reform of market capitalism. The slower the collapse the better for the industrialists who lobby to protect their industries. Faster collapse means reform comes sooner or massively depopulating disaster. Either one is a win for sustainable ecology. Slowing the destruction may make the problem worse. Escape to small sustainable enclaves is an elitist solution in the same way that rich people have a panic room in their mansion.
Clarence Darrow wrote:Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.
Humans will persevere, that is our nature. While the theory of limits to growth gains credibility with each passing year, so does the drive towards self-sufficiency and stewardship of the Earth. Humans are dynamic-they live in a state of continuous change, and readily adapt to the situation. It is certain that significant change is coming to our planet and our species. The way we organize ourselves and our relationship with the planet will transform into a much more harmonious form. Just by being here, you are part of that transition, regardless of whether you know it or believe it. Throwing in the towel makes no sense when there is so much Hope for the future.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.