You cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet, so the MORE MORE MORE stratergy of capitalism will not work. We need to live within the bounds of our natural resources, as a part of the global ecosystem. That’s just a fact of life.
But neither can we go backwards- we can’t regress back to some kind of fantasy rustic idyll: there’s too many people and it’s not in the nature of things anyway. Forwards is the only way.
We need to find ways of not just surviving, but thriving. Living WELL within our means. We must not suffer for the sake of the environment, but rejoice in it and develop societies that are good all round. I’m going to post about some of the things I think we should aim for. But I’ll do it in sections because there’s quite a lot…
- Organic agriculture – switching all farming to organic would create less pollution, standards of animal welfare would be better and food would be healthier.
- Local – less food miles means less carbon emmisions, fresher food and stronger local economies. Community gardens, fruit trees in parks, food outlets being encouraged to buy from local sources.
- Less meat and dairy – although coming from a vegan perspective, I don’t “just” say this because of the shocking cruelty of this industry. Plant based foods are more sustainable as they take up so much less land. There isn’t enough space for the whole world to be meat eaters.
- Good food for schools, hospitals and care homes – these institutions notoriously have awful food, but they should have the highest quality! Children, elders and the sick need fresh, organic and home cooked food more than anyone.
- Energy saving – all houses retrofitted for free with insulation. Double glazing.
- Solar panels – on South facing roofs.
- Heating by efficient woodstoves or groundsource heat pumps
- All new builds “eco houses” – passive solar gains etc, made from natural materials e.g. strawbale, hempcrete, natural paints. Composting toilets fitted, rainwater harvesting systems…
- All apliances A+ energy efficiency – and working on improving this all the time. It’s easier to reduce energy consumption than generate it.
- More energy generation in the home – solar panels on roofs, solar hot water heaters, small windmills in windy areas, pedal powered devices.
- Investments in localised renewable energy systems – a 1/3 of electricity generated is lost as heat in transportation. A more localised grid would reduce this loss. Depending on conditions, sun farms, wind farms, hydroelectric stations and etc can be used to power the urban areas closest to them.
- Gyms should convert all that human-power into electricity – I really don’t know why this isn’t done.
- All landfill sites generate electricity from the methane gas that’s produced – this is already done in some landfill but it should be all of them.
- Phasing out nuclear, coal, oil, gas
Those are all great goals. I know this tends to be an emotionally charged topic, but I believe that a huge part of our problem is that there are just too many people on this planet. It’s great to figure out better ways to use our resources more efficiently, but whatever gains will be completely wiped out in short order if we don’t find a way to limit our population. I have no brilliant ideas on how that might be accomplished, but I think it’s worth thinking about.
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