It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Can you imagine...

Can you imagine the US federal government taking out advertisements like this:


Apparently there is some precedent.

Good advice or not, it seems unimaginable that this was uncontroversial during the "greatest generation". It shows how quickly ideology changes, among other things.


John said...

Can you imagine? Consume less.

Whether or not this government advice was accurate or appropriate for the time in which it appeared, it is THE single strategy that is clearly needed now.

Of course, to the extent this advice was apparently uncontroversial to the "greatest generation," two generations later is seems total heresy.

Hence our problem.

John Puma

manuel "moe" g said...

Unfortunately, they were the greatest generation for exactly 6 years. Else, how could they have given birthed and raised the most entitled generation and thus had a hand in erasing the sum total of their accomplishments for being a true world power and defying "might makes right"?

It is possible that the Nuremberg Trials and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were the high point of civilization, and we have been ignoring the decline ever since? Doesn't "everyone that matters" agree that the Nuremberg Trials and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are just naive "9/10/01" thinking?

Whatever advice could save us, could have also saved the Roman Empire.

In ancient societies that I studied, for example the Roman Empire, the great problem that they faced was when they would have to incur very high costs just to maintain the status quo. Invest very high amounts in solving problems that don't yield a net positive return, but instead simply allowed them to maintain what they already got. This decreases the net benefit of being a complex society.

Not saying this to attempt to contradict what you are saying in your post, it is just that I don't trust a message that does not address the "nihilist-fence-sitters" and "denialist-fence-sitters" at the same time. Because it is not clear at all that approval of the "denialist-fence-sitters" is more valuable than the approval of the "nihilist-fence-sitters".

manuel "moe" g said...

My comment above is too gloomy. We have more tools now, at least some of the decision makers care about their own grand-children and great-grand-children, they can refuse to participate in short-term thinking, and refuse to play ball with those who do.

Pangolin said...

If by "consume" we mean the quantity of goods, energy inputs and environmental destruction we require then it seems like "consume less" will by imposed rather than chosen by the majority.

OTOH, we can increase the quality and satisfaction of our lives while reducing energy and environmental demands. Nobody, anywhere, goes on a vacation to enjoy sitting in eight lanes of stalled traffic. Various botanical and historic gardens conversely are considered world heritage sites. The more enjoyable option requires far less energy to maintain.

The Climate Change deniers want people to believe that remediation would mean living in cardboard huts on a diet of soy and corn gruel. This is absolute twaddle that needs to be fought with real examples of people living in comfort with low fossil fuel inputs.

If we can't do that all the rest is simply documenting our failure.