Monday, July 30, 2007

Focus on carbon and miss the point

That's the conclusion of Eamon O'Hara in a thought provoking piece about this week's story for The Green Room.

His general suggestion is that by concentrating almost entirely on reducing carbon emissions, we are missing the underlying cause, which is a direct consequence of our western, unsustainable mode of living.

This, he says, "has led to the assumption that if we reduce emissions then our problems are solved, hence the focus on carbon sequestration, renewable energies and environmental technologies."

Which is (and I like this analogy) like
"relying on methadone to cure an addiction to heroine."

"We urgently need to think about the more fundamental concept of sustainability and how our lifestyles are threatening not only the environment, but developing countries and global peace and stability."

I don't think anybody can realistically disagree with that statement. (Well, except perhaps the usual 'anti-brigade' comment posters who have immediately branded him as a hippy!)

It's a well and logically argued article, well worth a read. And as one of the comment posters has pointed out - look what happened to the inhabitants of Easter Island when they had consumed all their available resources; they became extinct!

Human beings tend to have a habit of NOT learning the lessons of history and commonly missing the point. Maybe now is time to take a more over-arching view whilst keeping historical precedents in mind?

1 comment:

Peter said...

He's right. His posters are right. And you're right.

And I agree with it all. In fact I have gone so far as to say the same thing here on occasion.

But, and I am as guilty as most in this regard, it's one thing to say we need to cut back, but it's quite another to a) do it and b) persuade others to join in.

I'd simply like to see a little more movement from 'thinking about' sustainability to measures that will enable it to happen soon.

That's a tough, massive, call, and requires pulling in a bunch of diverse aspects all at once.

Some are contradictory, many are brutal, and sadly all are enough to create great divisions and hence the inertia of endless debate by those interest groups involved.

Being a coward I am staying at the periphery of the whole population issue, but this seems a pretty big one to solve first, yet so much is being thrown at dealing just with its consequences, especially in areas where nature is trying to suggest that there should be limits.

I can see why the pols don't want to go there. Because if they do, some flip media-hound with a sound to bite will phrase a question such a way that if they are honest they'll be branded all manner of unelectable things.