Yes, it’s here.
We are being forced to answer the question, “what do we do?” much sooner than we thought we may have to.
Solutions are being presented to us. Almost every day I see a “new” or “innovative” fix. Ways to draw down carbon. Ways to mitigate the risk. Ways to create alternative energy.
Exciting isn’t it! We’ve got this thing beat. We’ve got the answers. We know how to solve it. Simple really. Here are some of the ways how:
- We all drive electric cars,
- We cover acres of land with photo-electric panels,
- We obtain all the electricity we want from solar, wind, and/or hydro,
- We inject the earth with tree seed-pellets from the air,
- We build our houses, factories, and offices from living concrete.
First, they all address the question of supply. Supplying our energy needs, our building needs, or our need to get rid of the carbon we emit into the atmosphere.
None of them answer our consumption, let alone ask the question. None of them ask, “are we consuming too much?”
Second, because of the failure to ask the question about consumption, each of them still makes it possible for us to:
- travel wherever and whenever we like,
- power our TVs, dishwashers, clothes-dryers, lights and the many other electronic gadgets of daily (consumptive) life.
Have you ever noticed that when something becomes more efficient, we don’t just continue at the same rate of use, we often increase our use? This is known as the Jevons Effect (also known as the Rebound Effect).
British economist William Jevons described this effect in 1865 when he noticed that an increase in the efficiency of the use of coal led to an increase in consumption of coal.
So too, as the price of solar energy comes down the use of that energy source is also likely to increase.
The third (and to my mind most potent) thing is that each of these treats the Earth as if she is simply a resource.
We can still mine for lithium to power electric vehicles, in the process damaging environments and disrupting the lifestyles of indigenous communities.
We can still cover tracts of land for solar panels, irrespective of whether those lands are breeding grounds, hunting grounds, or travel routes for various other life forms.
We can still think that all a tree (and its forest) is good for is to soak up carbon dioxide. We see the tree, and not the forest.
In short, we look upon the Earth as simply earth, or rocks, or water, or flora and fauna.
We are losing touch with the Soul of the Earth.
Let’s be careful what we advocate for. Let’s ensure that we see the forest, not simply the trees.