It's not like we don't already have enough threads going here. Today, though, the NYT Magazine has got a long long article by Thomas Friedman. It's entitled
The Power of Green
and its basic theme is, "green" is coming fast as our new economic salvation.
Friedman is very articulate. Very knowledgeable. It's worth reading if you've got the time. And he's certainly making progress in understanding our quite desperate circumstances.
"But here’s the bad news: While green has hit Main Street — more Americans than ever now identify themselves as greens, or what I call “Geo-Greens” to differentiate their more muscular and strategic green ideology — green has not gone very far down Main Street. It certainly has not gone anywhere near the distance required to preserve our lifestyle. The dirty little secret is that we’re fooling ourselves. We in America talk like we’re already “the greenest generation,” as the business writer Dan Pink once called it. But here’s the really inconvenient truth: We have not even begun to be serious about the costs, the effort and the scale of change that will be required to shift our country, and eventually the world, to a largely emissions-free energy infrastructure over the next 50 years."
Very very true, all of it.
He still has an underlying assumption, though, that should bring any biologist/ecologist (me) or truly knowledgeable greeny (you) to a dead halt.
He still thinks it's quite reasonable to seek to "preserve our lifestyle" - hence the "more muscular" new green ideology that's being so successful in the idea marketplace. That would be Schwarzenegger's version- where Hummers are still fine, as long as they're powered by bio or hydrogen fuels.
It's been quite painful getting mainstream thought to THIS point. All of the problems associated with climate change were OBVIOUS, and KNOWN- 20 years ago. They really were. I'll let out a little secret here; I've been a speaker at international global warming conferences. My first one was in 1988. If anyone had truly been listening to the climate modelers - all of it was there, up to and including wars for water, and environmental refugees.
I guarantee it's going to be painful getting public opinion even further. But we have to.
Here's the hard hard fact that the "muscular" greenies are still denying:
THE WORLD IS A LIMITED RESOURCE.
We've had a brutal proof of that in the last decade, with the world-wide collapse of ocean fisheries. For hundreds of years, politicians, and fishermen, have insisted that the oceans are simply too big for any human activities to ever make a dent in them.
And for a hundred years, at least, scientists have been warning that this is not so- keep harvesting cod at the present rate, and the population will collapse.
Guess what? The Atlantic cod population has mostly collapsed- the same fisheries where the first Europeans reported schools of cod so dense you could WALK on them- are gone. GONE. Closed. Few fish; and no fishermen.
When the scientists made these predictions- the economists, and fishermen, overruled them. "No, no, you can't take our lifestyle!! You're going to ruin the economics of our towns!"
We're in the process of doing exactly the same thing now with- our ATMOSPHERE. And the business types are making exactly the same mistake. "no, no, you can't take our Hummers away! That's defeatist!"
Arnold- Thomas- you desperately need to go look at the empty oceans. And the empty fishing villages. And the idle boats.
That's the way to kill an industry- and all the lifestyles that went with it.
Your "lifestyle" - is the equivalent of strip-mining.
You cannot have your Earth- and eat it too.
You CANNOT put an unlimited number of middle class Americans into a LIMITED CONTAINER. Earth.
That's PHYSICS, for crying out loud- not sociology, not biology. Physics. Do you believe in gravity?
Gravity doesn't CARE whether you believe in it or not. If you step off a cliff; you will fall. Every time. Hence the empty ocean.
If you are really looking at the numbers- you have to fairly quickly come to understand that the lifestyle of most middle class folks in the 1st world is NEVER going to be possible to maintain- and certainly not to expand. It's been nice, and fun- but it's insanely unrealistic.
The changes we're looking at, if we are to survive in the long run- are still much more extensive than people want to face.
This is why the efforts of people like No Impact Man- and all the rest in this little world of ours, are so very important. It will be hugely useful to have SOMEONE, just down the block, who is quietly living a non-strip-mining life.
Little by little- as people come to understand- it will make all the difference to have an example to follow.
More on this article later.