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What we act upon

News has many impacts, but very few things cause us to take action, and when we do act it is usually in very easy ways.

We're all familiar with the responses that can be heaped upon people in arenas like Facebook when a racist or homophobic remark can result in a comment going viral and hundreds or thousands of people sending hate-filled responses to the original poster.

It's easy.  It allows the commenter to feel they've done something, but it costs them nothing beyond a few seconds of typing.

(I often wonder if this is why some right-wing religious groups target gay men.  It requires no sacrifice on their part, but makes them feel they are exerting effort to fulfill god's wishes.  Other Biblical requirements are much harder to meet.  Not killing, not stealing, giving lots of money to the poor, get progressively harder.)

It's like that with environmental issues.  The Daily Mail can heap praise upon itself for the success of a campaign to put a charge on one-use carrier bags.  It's easy.  The worst thing it can do to us is to make us pay 5p for a carrier bag, or to bring our own bag to the shop.  It's an easy feel good factor to own a re-usable shopping bag.  

Most people will move up to sorting and putting out their recyclable rubbish. It's easy, and there's an awareness that it helps keep council tax down (because of landfill charges).

After that, sadly, we're mostly driven by the desire to look good.  It's no coincidence that most people installed double glazing long before they added decent loft insulation (even though loft insulation is far, far, more cost-effective).  Loft insulation is invisible and double glazing makes our houses look good.  We tell ourselves we're installing it for environmental reasons, but if it didn't come with good looking PVC frames, it wouldn't have caught on nearly as well.

Climate change is something we want the government to act upon.  They should definitely do something.  Though we're not always too sure about what.  We want green electricity, and it sounds great, but we also don't want anything that will lower our standard of living.

and thereby lies the crunch.  We ignore (not even deliberately, but by glossing over or turning the page) things that are stressful or that demand big changes from us.

If everyone on the planet lived as we do in the UK, we would need three planets to support everyone.  In other words, we're using resources three times faster than is sustainable.

And here's the even harder part.  Although we have known this for decades, and awareness of environmental issues is rising, our environmental footprint over that period has risen rather than fallen.

In short, we're destroying the natural environment (and the life support system for our children and grandchildren) because we're unwilling to sacrifice lifestyle elements that are often luxuries rather than essentials.

It's a New Year.  

What are you prepared to give up that will actually make a difference?


This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2017 08:28 pm (UTC)
I admire you greatly for your devotion to this case. I wish there was at least some awareness among people!
As for me, be sure that I have always tried to live in harmony with my environment or at least not to be harmful.
Jan. 4th, 2017 03:57 pm (UTC)
I suspect you do better than many, because you don't travel much, and travel is very damaging indeed. However, your biggest negative on any environmental impact questionnaire will probably come because you are now alone in your house.

I'll post a new calculator later this month.

I do find it difficult posting on environmental stuff, because people who fly a lot tend to feel hurt when you remind them how damaging it is. They're lovely people and they don't intend any damage, but is happening.
Jan. 4th, 2017 05:06 pm (UTC)
You are right about my big house. To tell the truth, I hate it. But on the other hand it is a kind of a family property and I don´t have to pay a rent, which counts.
I have LED bulbs everywhere and I managed to lower my energy consumption considerably, the same with water. Heating this year has been quite good so far.We inherited a small forest which needed lots of cleaning. Thanks to that I have a nice supply of dry firewood, I paid my neighbour who dod the work and delivered the logs in our garden. Of course my son had to cut and split the logs and then we have to saw the wood for burning. But it is so easy to use the wood and also it saves my supply of coal which is waiting for oncoming frosts.
The house itself has a terrible design that is unsuitable for renting a room. But the main reason I don´t rent a room it the place: Spolí is situated aside the main towns, too far away from universities or other schools too and commuting by bus is difficult because ot the poor timetable...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Proctor


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