August 3, 2017 by John Crapper
Can’t imagine life without my computer and I-pad. Just not one of those items I’m willing to live without.
I care a lot about climate change. I spend a lot of my time researching the issue and trying to spread the word about its seriousness. But, when I’m honest with myself there are limits to what personal actions I’m willing to take to help mitigate it. Let me explain.
I spend a lot of time on both my I-pad and computer researching climate change. It is something I’m interested in. Then it dawned on me. Because of these new electronic tools, I now spend a lot more hours every day reading from an electronic device rather than turning the pages of a book. My reading activities now use electricity. There is hardly a day that passes that I don’t plug my I-Pad and computer into the wall socket for a re-charge. Before it was invented the energy it takes to run them were not being used. But these devices have become indispensable for me. I will not give them up to save energy. My wife on the other hand couldn’t care less about an I-pad or a computer They are not on her list of indispensable items. She would have no problem if they were not produced any more.
For me, the same is true of commercial flying. I’m not going to give up my travels. It is on my personal “I-Pad” list. I’m not willing to stop boarding flying gas tanks that whisk me away to the far corners of the planet in search of the exotic. Travel is in my blood and just too important regardless of the carbon implications. Other’s would find fault with this position and take the opposite view. They would have no trouble foregoing all of their travels for the cause. But that does not mean they don’t have their own “I-pads” that they refuse to part with.
We all have those indispensable devices and activities that we just can’t live without. We are not willing to give them up. I’m sure the private pilot would not entertain having to sacrifice his plane for the good of the climate. Too much of a sacrifice for him. It’s his very special “I-pad” and no one will convince him to give it up.
The landscaper, for example, will not go without his gas-powered weed eater and leaf blower. They are just too important to his livelihood.
The stock car racer would never stand for anyone taking away his racing machines. They are integral for his lifestyle.
The retired couple touring the USA in their gas guzzling recreational vehicle would never tolerate it being taken away. This has been their dream to travel the roads of America seeing the sights they have only dreamed about during their working days. It is their “I-Pad”.
Realizing that each of us walking the Earth have our personal “I-Pad lists” integral to our lives is an important first step when formulating plans to address the problem of climate change. I will not stand for my I-pad to be taken away. I would fight to prevent such a move. Each of us will do the same to defend our right to have our own personal “I-pads”. We view them as being integral to our way of life.
The same can be said of America in general. We live in a country that has a way of life. We view that way of life as being integral to maintaining our own personal one. There are things in our communal way of life that we consider our communal “I-pads”. We view them as being an integral part of the American experience. We do not want them taken away. We will resist, even fight those items being taken away from us. Is Disney Land one of those communal I-pads? How about Universal Studios?
I’m not sure of all the devices and activities that would be put on this communal list of must have items for Americans but I think I can mention a few with confidence. I don’t think we are willing to give up our personal cars. Not yet a least. I don’t think we are willing to sacrifice our TVs. I’m sure we would not tolerate our mobile phones and computers being taken away. Actually, I’m really having a hard time coming up with items we would be willing to put on the chopping block to reduce our lifestyle induced energy consumption. It is a real conundrum. Please help me out in comments below if you have any suggestions.
Here are a few of the questions I’ve contemplated both over the years and recently, some of which I’ve answered and some I’m still struggling with.
Would I be willing to forego having my own children in part for the sake of the environment? Actually my wife and I discussed this before we got married and decided we could.
Would I be willing to give up eating meat? It’s the most impactful way a person can reduce their carbon footprint I’ve heard. Well I’ve significantly reduced my intake of red meat but still indulge once in a while. I can’t fathom giving up fish.
Would I be willing to close down fast food outlets? I think so but while living in Taiwan McDonalds was one of my favorite places to get a western dietary fix.
Would I be willing to rake the leaves in my yard instead of using a power blower? Yes, actually I already do this. I’ve never purchased any power tools to work in my yard.
Would I be willing to put the electric screwdriver in mothballs and return to the manual one? Actually, I’ve never owned a power screwdriver but a saw and drill are a different matter. I do try and not use power tools as much as possible
Would I be willing to place my excrement on the curb for pickup once a week to conserve water and capture a valuable resource? Haven’t had the opportunity yet to decide on this one but I’m sure I would.
Holy Shitters believe that if we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit. Fooling ourselves into thinking we are willing to take actions that we are in actuality not willing to take is not helpful. Sometimes a reality based approach makes things really stink.
I’ve come to realize that my list of things I’m not willing to live without is much longer than the things I’m willing to give up. And I purport to care about climate change. Holy shit! Now that is an inconvenient truth.