An Issue of Survival

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6 responses to “An Issue of Survival

  1. Sorry kids: your parents love their cars, their foreign holidays, too much to bother about your futures.

    [Response: Let’s prove that idea wrong.]

  2. It isn’t primarily about giving stuff up; it’s primarily about organizing society in more intelligent and less self-defeating ways. Not that that is easy, of course.

  3. Sorry, doc, I feel the need to suggest a fleshing-out, a clarification:

    If you live in a first world nation and don’t think this is going to require a significant amount of “giving stuff up,” then I think you are kidding yourself. I note that you said “primarily”about giving stuff up and that you suggest the project is primarily about reorganizing society. I will quibble a bit and suggest that the best path ahead for our species is primarily about reorganizing society and human economy and that this reorganization will require that many individuals give up a lot of stuff to which they currently feel entitled. Our other option is BAU with a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering on that path. RCP 1 and RCP 2?
    Cheers, buddy

    • I don’t disagree, mike, or not necessarily, anyway. I don’t think that anyone really knows what a sustainable society would look like; I’ve tried to get people thinking about it at various times, but with limited success. Our friend Killian over at RC certainly has a clear picture, but IMO is frustratingly vague about specifics, and unrealistic about human costs and abilities to adapt, so I’ve found that exchange not terribly helpful for advancing my own ideas of what that society might be.

      It’s very clear to me that consumerism is not sustainable, and not particularly conducive to human happiness and wellbeing (though I don’t claim to be immune to the seductions of its attractions–primarily pure convenience.) And we try to live relatively simply, personally. But it’s hard to know where to draw the lines, which is why a clearer picture of possible end states would be helpful. Still, I think it’s clear that we *will* need to give up the culture of disposable artifacts. Maybe that requires much higher prices for consumer goods; maybe it requires some method of taxing material throughputs.

      But:

      ) it can’t be done by individual ‘giving up’, for multiple reasons; it has to be systemic;

      2) there will be individual paybacks. One possible example is giving up the individually-owned automobile in favor of TaaS, “transportation as a service.” There would be some loss of convenience (though it might not be a large loss if the service is highly available and highly affordable), but it would be compensated (IMO, amply so) by liberation from a lifetime of paying finance (and other) costs on a depreciating asset which must be replaced every few years. Excessive focus on the ‘loss’ side of the equation just makes the sales effort that much harder.

  4. The Real News Network is an excellent thing. I wish we had something that good in Australia.
    The ‘conservative’ government has destroyed the state owned public broadcaster (as well as almost all that was decent in Australia).