Here is my latest post to our local rag's green section on their website;
Sheffield Star Green Scene
There are many areas within our lives where we can address efficiency, reduce demand, conserve resources, and make our lives more resilient.
1. In our homes
2. What we eat
3. How we get around
4. What we buy
All of these are interrelated but by looking at them separately we can find many opportunities both for saving money and increasing the sustainability of our lives. But before we do lets consider some basic principles.
The first, our lives and lifestyles are completely dependent on cheap energy. If all the energy you use in your life were to be provided by people sitting on bicycle powered generators you would need 50 people pedaling a good clip 24 hours/day nonstop. We have built our extravagant lifestyles on the availability of cheap petroleum which is incredibly energy dense. When refined into liquid fuels it is 10 times more powerful than dynamite1. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your outlook, the age of cheap oil is over and the climate consequences of burning oil and other fossil fuels are becoming increasingly worrisome.
The second is that it is far easier and more effective to make an impact by simply consuming less than by consuming more. This runs contrary to what the gurus of green consumerism want you too believe. Every item we use, eat, or throw away embodies a significant amount of energy whether it is “green” or not. So for many reasons it makes sense to simply use less. But as we shall see this may not always be so simple.
The third basic principle is that using less doesn’t necessarily mean doing without. There are so many ways we can use less energy by becoming more efficient rather than cutting something out of our lives. A good example is keeping the heat we get from our radiators inside our house rather than letting it go outside. We don’t have to give up being warm but we still use less heating energy.
The fourth is that shifting to more efficient sustainable and resilient lifestyles will make us healthier, richer, and happier.
What have you done today to lower your impact?
We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.
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