STEP UP TO SOLVING GLOBAL WARMING

by Bill McKibben.

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We need to conserve energy. That's the cheapest way to reduce carbon. Screw in the energy-saving lightbulbs, but that's just the start. You have to blow in the new insulation—blow it in so thick that you can heat your home with a birthday candle. You have to plug in the new appliances—not the flat-screen TV, which uses way more power than the old set, but the new water-saving front-loading washer. And once you've got it plugged in, turn the dial so that you're using cold water. The dryer? You don't need a dryer—that's the sun's job.

We need to generate the power we use cleanly. Wind is the fastest growing source of electricity generation around the world—but it needs to grow much faster still. Solar panels are increasingly common—especially in Japan and Germany, which are richer in political will than they are in sunshine. Much of the technology is now available; we need innovation in financing and subsidizing more than we do in generating technology.

We need to change our habits—really, we need to change our sense of what we want from the world. Do we want enormous homes and enormous cars, all to ourselves? If we do, then we can't deal with global warming. Do we want to keep eating food that travels 1,500 miles to reach our lips? Or can we take the bus or ride a bike to the farmers' market? Does that sound romantic to you? Farmers' markets are the fastest growing part of the American food economy; their heaviest users may be urban-dwelling immigrants, recently enough arrived from the rest of the world that they can remember what actual food tastes like. Which leads to the next necessity:

We need to stop insisting that we've figured out the best way on Earth to live. For one thing, if it's wrecking the Earth then it's probably not all that great. But even by measures of life satisfaction and happiness, the Europeans have us beat—and they manage it on half the energy use per capita. We need to be pointing the Indians and the Chinese hard in the direction of London, not Los Angeles; Barcelona, not Boston.

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...The kind of extreme independence that derived from cheap fossil fuel—the fact that we need our neighbors for nothing at all—can't last. Either we build real community, of the kind that lets us embrace mass transit and local food and co-housing and you name it, or we will go down clinging to the wreckage of our privatized society.

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Link to source-webpage, obtained via:
YES! Magazine
, February 27, 2008, 4:17pm

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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