Originally Posted by jskidder
this is true, but for it to really have meaningful impact we would need to do away with all cars/trucks/etc and rely on foot and horses for transportation, shut down all business and manufacturing, live by candlelight, and basically go back to living as the settlers did by making all of our own stuff and raising our own food. and that simply isn't going to happen.
This is a classic strawman - mis-representing the 'other side' of an argument so you can knock it down easily.
Small things can
make a difference if enough people do them.
For example, if everyone used detergents made from vegetable oil, rather then petroleum oil, we'd cut down substantially on the demand for oil. If we start using glass bottles, rather than plastic ones, that demand will go down again.
I've been making 'green choices' for the last ten years, but it's been a gradual process. If you came to me in 1999 and told me to live like I'm living now, my reaction would have been "you're kidding me, right?"
Just cutting demand 5-10% for something can have a huge impact. That is the purpose of things like green lightbulbs, using your own grocery bags, recycling, etc. The less your lifestyle demands that new shit gets made, the more green it is. Some economists have said that we could drive down the price of gas by close to a dollar if we all just cut our driving by 10%. And this happened, earlier this summer! Gas prices went sky-high, so people started cutting down. And what happened? Prices at the pump have been sliding ever since.
I won't buy a hybrid, because I don't think the added cost and the environmental hazards posed by the battery are worth it. So I buy only used cars - they've already been manufactured, and I'm chipping away a bit at the demand for new cars. A lot of people are doing the same thing.
If you're going to live this way, you have to really and truly
realize that you're only doing it for yourself. If you're worried about what the rest of the world or your neighbors are doing, it won't work. But if you do your own thing and march to your own pace and are happy with it - as with any other thing we do - people will take notice and start to consider their own actions and choices.
The way I live would be considered uncomfortable to many of you, but over time it has influenced a lot of my friends to make similar choices. I don't ever lecture them and tell them that they have to do it my way; that would only make them want to ridicule me and reject my approach twice as angrily.
It isn't just about "global warming" - that's just a trendy term that makes people scared into walking the walk (which is what we need to be, IMO). It's about much more than that - finding alternative sources of energy, encouraging sustainable development, cutting waste, reducing animal slaughter/deforestation/overfishing/etc...
But industries depend on environmental destruction, which is why we can't just stop it. So the policymakers at the very top of society's pyramid know that we need to have a gradual transition - where are all the people that work in these heavy industries going to go? That's why we're starting to see the push towards government subsidization of green enterprise and projects - because the Old Economy is going to cling to its cash cow as long as there's a dime left in it.