CONSUMPTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE July 19, 2009Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment, Social Environment.
How far do we want to drive toward the edge of the cliff before we stop. Technology is simply the application of science to meet social and human needs.
Stop consuming is one solution posited by Merrick Godhaven in The Guardian. He states the situation plainly – only for those who chose to recognize that climate change, global warming is real:
Technology is part of the solution to climate change. But only part. Techno-fixes like some of those in the Guardian’s Manchester Report simply cannot deliver the carbon cuts science demands of us without being accompanied by drastic reductions in our consumption. That means radical economic and social transformation. Merely swapping technologies fails to address the root causes of climate change.
We need to choose the solutions that are the cheapest, the swiftest, the most effective and least likely to incur dire side effects. On all counts, there’s a simple answer – stop burning the stuff in the first place. Consume less.
Deforestation, the source for example of the little noticed conflict in the Amazon with the traditional people is a clear example of over-consumption. He observes the general situation:
Climate change is not the only crisis currently facing humanity. Peak oil is likely to become a major issue within the coming decade. Competition for land and water, soil fertility depletion and collapse of fisheries are already posing increasing problems for food supply and survival in many parts of the world.
Technological solutions to climate change fail to address most of these issues. Yet even without climate change, this systemic environmental and social crisis threatens society, and requires deeper solutions than new technology alone can provide. Around a fifth of emissions come from deforestation, more than for all transport emissions combined. There is no technological fix for that. We simply need to consume less of the forest, that is to say, less meat, less agrofuel and less wood.
Our level of consumption is inequitable. Making it universal is simply impossible . . .
So let us accept these assumptions, the reality of anthropogenic climate change and the inadequacy of established technocratic and economic solutions, what would “a radical social and economic transformation look like”? How could that transformation be arrived at democratically and in time so that it was not driven by the exigency of emergency? What are the essential conditions that have to be established and met to ensure human survival?
I think it is essential that we see ourselves as global citizens concerned for the welfare of all people everywhere. I am wondering about the potential and efficacy of nonviolence not simply as a means of changing human relationships but equally of changing the relationship to nature and the rationale for pillaging the environment as well as other human beings.