I have been an environmentalist much of my adult live. I have fought industrial pollution and live a life that is low in energy and water consumption. Though I live in a modest two story house my utility bill is less than $100 each month rain or shine. I own an old gas guzzler but drive less than 5000 miles a year. I am a member of a number of organizations that champion a clean environment and transportation alternatives.
But looking at the bigger picture I now realize that Global Warming is by far the most important and urgent environmental problem. It is global in scope so affects everyone. Its effects are devastating and extremely costly and its consequences threaten our survival. There simply is no other problem on earth its equal. So I have decided that this takes precedence over all other environmental issue by a long shot.
Another realization I have reached is that the Root of our pollution problem is our thirst as consumers for more conveniences and entertainment. Industrial pollution is only a consequence of our greed for these excesses. This is like the war on drugs. Demand create opportunities for supply. Our demand for illegal drugs creates opportunities for lucrative illegal drug industries throughout the world. Likewise our demand for driving cars creates the demand for oil and industries that create cars and turn oil into gasoline and build road infrastructures all resulting in auto pollution. Our demand for electrical energy to run all the convenient gadgets and things we use daily create the need for larger electrical power plants using coal from huge open-pit mines, gas from the fracking of underground shale, and their consequential pollution. Our demand for gadgetry and technology create the demand for rare earth minerals strip mined from the earth and manufacturing facilities that pollute and consume natural resources. The list goes on and on. We consumers are the ROOT PROBLEM. Industrial pollution, strip mining, oil and gas pipelines, offshore drilling, and fracking are all consequences of our insatiable appetite for manufactured goods. Industries simply cater to the demands of our lavish lifestyles.
We American consumers are the root of all our evils. We over-consume creating such huge commercial demands. If the US never existed, Global Warming would likely not be a problem today. Much of China’s pollution is due to exports to the United States. We like to blame China, India and other developing nation for pollution and inhumane manufacturing conditions but it is because we are the largest consumers in the world that such things exist. We are responsible for setting the gold standard of lifestyle which everyone now aspires to achieve. And there are little signs that we are putting on the brakes of our lavish consumptive lifestyle. Instead we continue to demand more and look for alternative to our increasing demand for energy by developing alternative sources of non-greenhouse generating electricity which develop new industries which grow and in their own ways further deprive the earth of precious resources and add pollution.
We really need to curb our addiction to consumption and change our lifestyles towards conservation. We should drive our cars less instead of buying and electric car. Use a bike or walk instead. It’s better for our health. Stop shopping for cloths, shoes, and apparel not needed for daily use. Stop turning on the lights throughout the house when not needing them. Stop turning on the air conditioner when the temperature is over 75 degrees. Stop getting the newest model computer or cell phone when the old one still works. Limit time watching TV and increase time interacting with your family. Stop buying junk and pre-packaged foods and start eating fresh fruits, vegetable, and meat instead. Wash dishes by hand instead of using a dish washer. If you must use energy-consuming appliances and lighting buy energy-efficient rated items. Making lifestyle changes that reduce the need for commercially produced goods will decrees Global Warming and benefit your health and the environment. Doing less sitting and more walking reduces the need to drive to the gym. Being less tech-savvy and more people savvy is more in line with our genetic disposition as social animals and is less demanding on energy.
We Americans are among the laziest people in the world. We pay big money for conveniences. We invented convenience shopping, eating, media, and technology. We need to reduce our reliance upon the conveniences of commercially produced products and services and increase our use of more natural commodities and services to curb continuing industrial expansion to meet our exploding demands. Entire multibillion dollar industries, diets, gyms, and medical procedures exist today to make us look healthier when all it takes is for us to eat more naturally and healthier, drive our cars less and stop being so lazy. This requires a lifestyle change and giving up much of the good life of wastefulness and convenience we are so spoiled having. But the so-called good life isn’t all that really good for our health or relationships, things that should matter most. You will find that what you give up isn’t really giving up much. It is actually a return to a more natural state which our bodies and minds are intended for. It will also save you a bundle of money and allow your dollars to stretch further.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not holding industries blameless for Global Warming. Most certainly they have done more than their share to feed us with temptations of affordable and lavish living and have done much to perpetuate Global Warming. But we American consumers must bear responsibility for allowing our laziness and lavish lifestyles to create the demands for more products and entertainment technologies that take control of our lives.
So my bottom line is to stress a little less on the curbing of industrial pollution and emphasize much more on making lifestyle changes that rely less on commercially produced goods and services. If enough do it this will decrease the demand for products and services from industries thus reducing Greenhouse emissions as well as leading us to live healthier and happier lives. Otherwise industries will gladly accommodate our laziness and lavish lifestyles for more conveniences, products, and services and Global Warming will continue unabated.