10 March 2010

Tell 'Em What to Do, Part 2 - Help "Seed" the Renewable Energy Revolution

Given that only a massive and complete transition to an economic system based on renewable energy (so, Capitalism, if you want to stay on top let alone stay alive, get with the program!), some would argue that my entreaty (see my post yesterday) to "decide to be uncomfortable and save the energy" if we can "save some energy by sacrificing some comfort for the sake of future generations" is useless.

Using less bad energy (fossil fuel-derived) is not the same as using good energy (from renewable sources). Less bad ≠ good.

My gut responds by saying that the transition — the revolution — to renewable energy isn't going to happen overnight, nor indeed any time soon, it would appear. (Oops, where's my positive thinking?) Wouldn't lowering our greenhouse gas emissions be better than doing nothing in the meantime?

One answer is that what we need to be doing is demanding that our elected leaders lead us in the direction of renewable energy — by writing, phoning, emailing, faxing and visiting them. By writing letters to the editors of newspapers and leaving comments on blogs and websites. By "seeding" and supporting the radical notion that we can make the world a safer, cleaner, healthier, more equitable, more peaceful and downright kinder place by switching to universally accessible sources of energy.

Another answer is that in the meantime, we ourselves can be creating a safer, cleaner, healthier and kinder world by doing all we can in our own lives to lower our GHG emissions. I believe it's a kind of gateway behaviour (just like recycling leads to other green efforts at home, or marijuana smoking precedes forays into heavier drugs). (Oops, not a great example! ;-)

If you can picture yourself as someone who is willing to make small sacrifices for the sake of the health and survival of your grand/children in the future, then you'll more likely be someone who encourages and adopts the transition to renewable energy when it starts picking up speed.

But honestly, I don't know the answer. I only pray that it's not too late to do the right thing — at all levels of society, from personal to global.

NOTE TO SELF: Bug my prime minister with ANOTHER letter! Copy that letter to all my friends, acquaintances and civil society organizations that I know. And maybe copy it to all the business supporters of the status quo that I know of. Start planting the seed there, too.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?