Sunday, March 18, 2007

Carbon Caps or Lifestyle Caps?

A recent editorial in the New York Times talked about the need for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases, pollution taxes, carbon credits, and the search for promising technologies that could mitigate global warming with only minimal harm to the economy at worst. Articles concerning personal changes one can make that meet these goals are showing up with increasing frequency as well.

You know, buy different types of new lightbulbs, a different kind of new car, and buy carbon offsets as a new type of gift.

This ruse of putting the brunt of the blame, and the burden of responsibility, on American consumers for America's 25% contribution to the anthropogenic causes of global warming is also becoming increasingly common.

Yes, Americans are addicted to oil.

But let's not forget that addicts need a pusher. Who are the pushers that feed this addiction to oil that energizes the culture of materialism? Who constantly entice more addicts, starting their dependency campaigns while youth are still in the crib? Who are these pushers who are actually even more addicted themselves to the power (in every sense imaginable) that can be derived from fossil fuels?

The answer to these questions should be obvious. It's industrialists and their immediate masters in the global banking cartels. It's the adherents to the holy grail of a growth economy. How convenient that the mainstream media never mentions the role of these elite sects in either the crisis or their responsibility to deal with it.

Change does need to begin from where we are. Currently people have been hoodwinked into valuing money more than life. So putting a price on pollution, toxicity, radiation, deforestation, greenhouse gas production, etc. and so on is a good place to start for a transition strategy toward a sustainable future. This should cause people to start honestly examining what it is in their lives that is truly valuable and gives their lives meaning and purpose.

If we also start to articulate the viable alternative of relocalization, and its very real possibility of increasing quality of life, we can also inspire and motivate people into helping build this necessary alternative that values those things that really matter. People will discover the increased well-being--and even the status and respect that can be gained--from being a responsibly contributing member of the web of life.

Then we can get to the question the mainstream continues to studiously avoid asking.

Is it really new technologies and market-based schemes that we need, or a new way of relating to and being in the world?

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