Low-Carbon Living

Sleuthing the origins of a Margaret Mead quote mentioned on Dave Bonta’s excellent blog eventually led me to a welcome cheerful site on global warming and what we can do about it. It was created by a son of the editors of Resurgence , a British environmental magazine founded in the 60s, “at the heart of earth, art, and spirit.”

I read some peak oil blogs for a while, as well as global warming sites, and mountain-top removal, surface mining and Marcellus shale gas drilling are concerns of mine.  I know a lot of people who are concerned about environmental and social and economic justice issues.  I’ve put a lot of hours into health care reform this past year.  I was feeling sapped by the anger, urgency, grimness, and, often, self-righteousness of all of these movements.

Global warming and climate change are not going to destroy the earth – just change it, maybe to where the kinds of life it sustains is dramatically different – but why should we be so arrogant as to think we should control or decide what life on earth should look like? My concern with mountain-top removal, coal-fired plants, and consumption in general is not really what it does to the earth in the long term, it is what it does to the immediate environment and the people who depend on it in the short term, and to the values of those people and how they relate to each other.  We end up with people who make other people miserable, directly or indirectly, because they believe that he who dies with the most toys wins.  So I have turned back to more spiritual explorations – how can I live, and help others live, in ways that are less materialistic?

So I was pleased to find this no-nonsense, reassuring, Low-Carbon Lifestyle website:

The best way to start is to calculate your current emissions, so you can see how much you save in a year – you’ll be surprised how well you do! To calculate your emissions use the calculator at www.lowcarbonlifestyle.org. Don’t feel guilty about your carbon emissions! We’ve only just found out about the dangers of carbon dioxide.

The site says “Don’t Panic” in the very best low-key British style.  Of course, “Resurgence” is a very positive name, too; whilst Rachel Carson was delineating a Silent Spring, the British were plotting improvements.  A newish term in environmental economics, “resilience,” is positive, too.

Leave us not continue to weep, wail, and gnash our teeth in the best tradition of Jeremiah.  Let’s spend our energy on figuring out and using practices to make things better.  Those who are not yet convinced will not be convinced by continuing ugly facts, but they may well be convinced to live a life that is easier and more pleasant.  Whatever happened to the idea of the rat race and getting out of it?  A few did, but far more are still in it.