Rick Dubrow’s “On The Level” Column in the Cascadia Weekly; Published 8-29-07
Just how hard you’re willing to work to protect yourself from an approaching hurricane depends upon your assumptions: will it really affect you, and how hard will it hit? Your health and material well being, once the storm subsides, will depend upon how close to reality were your assumptions.
So it is with the perfect storm coming home to roost on spaceship Earth — peak oil, climate change and increasing inequity, colliding together before our eyes. Check in with yourself……… know thyself……… will it really affect you, and how hard will it hit?
If you believe the perfect storm will not affect you, that environmentalists are simply crying wolf, business as usual may feel just fine. Continue on down the mainstream path of gobbling up the most oil you can get your hands on. Given our consumer culture in which he who dies with the most toys wins, the bigger and better the toy the more petrochemicals are typically expended in their creation. Gobble, gobble………..
Perhaps you instead believe the storm is going to hit but that a technological fix is enough of a reaction. So you buy a furnace with optimal efficiency; your new car is a hybrid; your coat is made from pop bottles; you buy local. Your consumption habits are of similar magnitude as before you embraced the degradation of our environment, but your choices are less bad.
If the technological fix doesn’t seem like its enough perhaps your actions are aligned with downsizing and curtailment. Your home is very small; you bike, use mass transit or a car share program and sell your own car; you buy your used coat from Value Village; you buy local but you buy much less. You no thyself.
Or, perhaps, your assumption is that society is already collapsing in slow motion before your very eyes. We’re already in system overshoot, perhaps, so why bother changing your ways. Enjoy the free fall even though you know you have no parachute on. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway so you might as well enjoy the ride.
Under which of these four scenarios do you operate: denial, technological fix, curtailment or collapse? Which of these four scenarios is aligned with reality? Which studies on peak oil, global warming and the environment describe reality? Are you acting appropriately given the evidence at hand? Just how far are you willing to change your behavior in light of your belief about the state of our environment?
There was a time not long ago when nearly everyone ‘knew’ the earth was flat. New evidence arose from the scientific community convincing everyone that their assumption was wrong. Reason prevailed and we came to realize that we’re all on this same fragile globe, together.
Yes, it’s painful to stay current with the latest information on the state of our world. Chronic, depressing reports. I’d rather be hiking or biking right now than writing this piece on our environmental plight. But we’re in this together. We’re all crew on this globe, not just passengers. There’s work to be done; supplies are not infinite and they need monitoring; we can only use so much.
Each of us needs to pay attention to new information; to stay aware of the latest evidence so that reason can prevail. So that our actions – yours and mine – are a reasonable reaction to the reality of the environment around us.
I ask you to stay awake. Know thyself and know your assumptions. Be good crew.