About the nature and global warming… again
When I saw the title and link to this article (“Facing the Facts about Climate Change”), I thought, oh no! not again! I cannot hear about the subjects global warming and nature and pollution again. But I gave it a try and finally I found it very informative and it provoked some new thoughts within me. So I decided to share some text snippets with you.
Combating climate change, therefore, is not simply about applying green technologies, such as changing from incandescent to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Robert Weissman, editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor and director of Essential Action, points out that what is needed is a broad public understanding of how the present system of making, transporting, selling, buying, using and disposing of things is trashing the planet.
I remember Bruce Sterling and his future vision of the “wrangler” in his book “Shaping Things”.
The problem of climate change is not simply a question of economics and social models, however. At the heart of the matter is the need for a change in social attitudes prevalent in the western, industrial world, one based on insularity and greed. An excellent reflection of this is “The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard” (StoryofStuff.com), a short film which can be viewed on the Internet (about 20 minutes) that explains the “materials economy” and how it works.
[…] western industrial civilisation is destroying itself because it’s determined to disregard all limits in all areas. It has broken all the aesthetic rules in art, given birth to absolute totalitarianisms, and declared that there are no longer any physical or ethical limits. Likewise, there are no longer any limits on consumption or the exploitation of nature. Our obsession is that we must always have more. Modern society is, as it were, set on holding the position of the “almighty creator”. This attitude goes hand in hand with the Judeo-Christian view of the world which puts human beings in a privileged position above all else in the world.
That’s what I always say (and will continue to say 😉 ), WE ARE ANIMALS (or just beings, since there are no “animals”). There is no reason to call ourselves “human beings”, to create an artificial border between “animals” and us. This border creates only problems on earth.
Ironically, the Judeo-Christian view of the world, which is prominent in all western, industrial nations, also contains a warning in the story pertaining to “the tree of knowledge”. Contrary to the view of many who use this as an excuse to rationalise that ignorance is bliss, the problem with taking a bite of the forbidden fruit is not the acquisition of knowledge itself but its application. In other words, we are too immature to handle certain types of information.This doesn’t mean we need to adopt a Luddite view of the world. Rather, it should be used as a guide for adopting the precautionary principle more often. Unfortunately, we seem to be relying too much on technological progress as a panacea for our ills.Technology is often regarded as cure with no side effects. Yet the 20th century is full of examples of how the double-sword of technology has led to more problems than solutions: radioactivity, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), DDT, asbestos, hydrocarbons, nuclear power, and the list goes on.
It seems our consciousness is just not evolved enough to handle all the means of technology available to us.
The dilemma for many is that our reliance on technology is such that we have become increasingly isolated from reality and the outside world. This can be clearly seen through the advent of the so-called “information society”. Computer-mediated communications has become simply another technology in which the promises of a greener, brighter future have turned out to be superfluous. The Internet especially was supposed to deliver a “new economy”. Moreover, the “paperless” medium of the Internet would help save trees while the tele-working would cut down on traffic congestion and emissions. It has since turned out to be the opposite: the economy is the same as it ever was, more paper is being used than ever before, and with so many people online computers now cause more emissions than civil aviation worldwide. It’s not just about household computers: the Internet requires huge server and data storage facilities, and as the flow of data doubles every four months, electricity consumption grows with it.
In the end, regardless of the technology at our disposal, it’s quite clear that the only way to combat climate change is a thorough and radical change in the way we live and consume resources. However, given the close relationship between our lifestyles and our personal values, such a fundamental change is only possible if we make alterations to basic ethics. For instance, we rarely take into account future generations or distant populations when making important decisions. Moreover, western societies are structured so as to enable each person to maximise their own interests. As a result, it’s only to be expected that the ultimate objective of western, industrial society is to produce and consume more and more.
That’s why I don’t like “marketing” and the word “consumer”. WTF! I am not supposed to consume! And don’t tell me about your new shiny products! Not on the street and not on the internet (facebook, google etc.).And I don’t believe that perfectly targeted advertising is “pure” information. At the end of the day it is only about making more profit. Nobody thinks about the environmental impact of that product in 10, 20 or 30 years! But it is up to you, just go and buy and slurp that trash into your body. You will see what happens with your children, who drink from your breast milk and are prone to allergies. Maybe that’s the way to stop that circle. People will be forced to buy less since their body is not capable of taking more shit.I can decide by my own feelings what I need and what I don’t. My credo is REDUCTION. I reduce the amount of goods I buy and own.In the future it will be hopefully insulting to call someone “consumer”.
Environmental degradation and climate change has shown that this is clearly no longer sustainable. The free organisation of society is showing itself to be at odds with the management of shared environmental assets. There is now an urgent need to invent new methods of economic and political regulation. This includes branding certain aspects of our lifestyles as criminal.
It is criminal to sell all that stuff to us! New computers, new iPods, new clothes, new furniture, etc. etc. I don’t want to be too negative about that issue but I think only pain can help ourselves to change our habits and minds. Think of extreme weather conditions and illnesses.
Link to complete article
Excellent video summary “The Story of Stuff” (takes 20 minutes to watch, but it is worth!)