Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sustainable Ecology, Sustainable Economy

I missed out on the big climate change awareness march in Manhattan today. I work weekends, and heading down to Manhattan for a spell before rushing back to Westchester in time for work was just not an option. I don't think that this was a cop-out on my part. I cover "green" issues fairly regularly, and the presence of one more person at the rally isn't as important as the presence of a voice consistently harping on green issues.

To me, the biggest problem facing our society is our utter failure to look beyond the immediate future: the next quarter, the next election cycle, the next ratings period... these occupy the thoughts of our policy makers to a far greater extent than a long-term, sustainable future. The symptoms of this underlying failure to develop a long-range plan, better yet, a multi-generational blueprint for the future, can be see in all walks of life- bubble economies, boom-and-bust cycles, environmental degradation, and infrastructure delapidation. Tragically, I don't see any changes being implemented until it's too late. Hell, at this point, I'm convinced that the best we can do is to lessen the impact of the coming crash, but big business and bad government actors are doing their damnedest to put the pedal to the metal.

I've long maintained that fossil fuels should be considered "startup capital" to be used to usher in a sustainable energy economy. The problem is that Homo sapiens has been burning (quite literally) the "seed money" with little effort to develop the next generation of energy sources. My personal feeling is that biofuels developed from algae or small, quick growing plants suck as duckweed. Carbon capture would best be achieved through reforestation efforts.

At any rate, the most important change that has to occur is that we, as a species, have to think of a future beyond the next quarter.


mikey said...

1.) A 'long range plan' smacks of central planning, and will always frighten Americans because they don't understand communism, they don't know who they fought and they don't get why they won.

2.)Yes, the consumption of easily accessed resources as human society evolved from agrarian to industrial to post-industrial is a fascinating study. How many other intelligent species have exhausted their planet's ability to support and sustain growth into the spacefaring era and died out? It almost seems like an earthlike planet has exactly enough resources to allow an intelligent species to arrive at the decision point we're at right now. And I suspect history has not been kind.

I think we may be at a triage moment, where we ask the climate modelers to help us understand what regions will be able to support what populations. We're going to lose a lot of people, and we can either do it smart or stupid and ugly...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'm going to sleep on it.

After listening to the video answer to mikey's hypothetical and we can either do it smart or stupid and ugly...

Smut Clyde said...

I lean towards the nihilistic end of the spectrum. Clever little ape species has proved to be smart enough to extinguish themselves, but due to the tribalism and the testosterone display and other features of ape mentality they are not able to do anything about it.

Smut Clyde said...

We're going to lose a lot of people

"Megadeath" is old 70s talk. Now it's time for "bevadeath" to enter the vocabulary.