Saving Carbon – A Tough Sell

November 27, 2008

Today I’m struggling to stay warm and still keep my carbon footprint small.  Lots of layers of bedclothes, a sleeping bag, and a comforter on top.  I can see what we comfort-loving, affluent humans are up against.  It is far easier to just turn up the steam heat than to start weather-stripping the windows.  I thought Northern Europe would be miles ahead of America in addressing energy conservation, but the issues seem the same here.  Limited recycling options.  Old, poorly insulated buildings.  Low awareness of the simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and largely an ignorance of the concept among even the green-leaning (and lean greening) folks.

Saving carbon is, I suppose, a tough sell here in the frigid northlands.  It will take far too long for education to fill the need to conserve.  The kind of solution we need to set us sustainable need to be imposed from the top.  The paradigm needs to be changed wholesale, and quickly.

I am beginning to see my role here at the conference from the perspective of ideas.  I haven’t the power of a vote.  I don’t advise any delegation.  But I am here in the dual role of an ‘observer’, an objective witness perhaps, and a member of the press.  As such it is my function to ask questions.  But the best questions are ones that stimulate the formation of new ideas.

Since my perspective has recently turned to the flaws in the basic framing of society which is commonly referred to as ‘economics’, I see my role in part to undermine the old idea of ‘economics’ and so contribute to the formation of a new one.  The monetization of reality is the travesty that has largely gotten us into the current problems of sustainability, where only things that can be bought and sold have ‘value’.  This must change or eventually humanity will reach a dead end.  As civilizations have come and gone in the past, so too ours will have come and gone, unless we can learn to institutionalize the recognition of value in a broader context.