Post Earthday Post.
My favorite globe focused website is WorldChanging. They excel at looking at new unique solutions to very large complex problems. New approaches to food, housing, energy, resources, manufacturing, recycling, and somethings you haven't even heard of yet. And then there is Greapeace founder Patrick Moore, who has long since broken off from the fear mongering anti-everything extremist politicos that have dominated the Greenpeace movement. He has come out in favor of both nuclear energy, and genetically modified crops and livestock. These are the sorts of people that are needed now more than ever. Dont tell me that I need to tighten my belt and reduce my "footprint". Yes I use up ten times as many resources as the average global citizen. But rather than asking me to make do with 3 hectares of planetary resources as opposed to 20, why not up the production of those hectares I use, making 3 do the work of 20. Don't take away my inefficient electronics, and smog belching automobile. Give me the option of of better, cleaner, more efficient ones. Not only will I be on board for that, I'll probably pay you through the teeth for it.
Next year's Toyota Prius is going to get 93 miles to the gallon, Ninety Three. That means I could get from Detroit to Chicago on three gallons of gas. And it's not some smaller slower golf cart. It will be faster, and have better acceleration than the Prius on the road right now. Germany plans to market the Loremo in 2009, that will get 150mpg, and cost all of $13,000 American. For the DIY crowd, companies are selling aftermarket add-ons for hybrid cars, that will let you run completely off of electrical power for short commutes, or turn your car into an emergency gas powered generator for your home.
The average laptop computer uses an order of magnitude less electricity than the average desktop. A sleek new ultra portable uses even less. Try running your humming computer tower and wide screen monitor off of a palm sized battery for 3 hours. You wont get very far. I like these things, I want them. I'll pay for them. Not because of their environmental impact. (Which would be substantial if everyone switched over from gas to hybrids, and from towers to laptops.) Nor is it because of the rewarding feeling I get by making the morally right choices. I really don't care about any of that. I like them because they are new. They are smaller, cooler, smarter, and cheaper than their less eco-friendly alternatives of years ago. Owning something that neat doesn't require any heart strings to be tugged, just leak a picture of it on Engadget.
My Apartment is lit entirely by low wattage hyper efficient long lasting light bulbs. I didn't make that decision based on the amount of coal that is required to provide electricity to power normal Edison age lights. I bought them because now I'll never have to change a light bulb again for as long as I live here. As an added bonus, they just happen to get by on 23 watts instead of 100. Don't ration how often and at what time we are allowed to water our lawns. Instead let us have lawns that require less watering. If they are greener and hardier and easier to maintain, we will buy them. Let the farmers of the world grow GM crops. Sure we don't know their long term impacts. However we do know the long term impacts of famine.
"Saving" the earth isn't a question of reducing and reusing and recycling "before it's too late". It's a matter of changing the rules of the game; Cradle to Cradle design, urban farms, intelligently designed population centers, arcologies, krill, fuel producing algae. Make it smarter, make it better, make it cheaper, and make it cooler. I am not resistant to any of that. And if the environmental movement can get behind realistic complex reasonable solutions to these big global problems, maybe just maybe the rest of the world will come alongfor the ride. I'll tell you one thing for sure. If you can sell it to me, you can sell it to anyone. And that just might save the world. [inspired by Wired]