Sunday, November 24, 2013

Don't Blame Them. Blame Yourself Too.

The Guardian has published two articles that blame climate change, or most of it, on a few corporate fat cats.  One claims just 90-companies cause two-thirds of global warming emissions.  The second item is a companion piece with a graphic showing which fossil fuel companies are the most blameworthy.

How do we blame fossil fuel companies for most of our emissions?   Sure they're responsible for the consequences of extraction, production and transportation of their product to end-users but once we get our winter supply of home heating oil for our cavernous, empty McMansion or fill up the SUV to make our massive workday commute from the ex-urbs or wing our way to the beaches of Hawaii, surely that's on us, isn't it?

Are the fossil fuel companies solely to blame when we continue to elect governments that lavish on them grants, subsidies and deferrals that make Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas even wealthier than just enormously wealthy?  Hint - if we stopped voting for these petro-pols, be they Liberal, Conservative or New Democrat; they would stop doing it.

The fact is, if we stop doing all sorts of things, others stop too.   If we stop buying unnecessary junk manufactured on the other side of the world under exploitative and unregulated conditions, they'll stop making that stuff.   If we buy the stuff we do need, just that stuff and none of the crap, we'll have more people in our communities making ever better stuff that does meet our needs.  We can have stuff that lasts, we can have food that's not laced with antibiotics, hormones and preservatives.  We can become aware of the distinction between stuff we really need and all the stuff we've become conditioned to think we want.

We can reject the malfunction in the operating system of modern governance, the slavish addiction to never-ending growth.  It's not feasible in a finite world.  You know that, I know that, we all know that so why are we building a society on that?  

Just as there's healthy cholesterol and unhealthy cholesterol, there's also healthy growth that doesn't entail increasing production and consumption.  We can direct much of that energy and capital we put into making ever more things into making fewer things that are better, more helpful,  less harmful and that will actually increase our enjoyment of life.   If happiness is the key, why don't we do things that can actually bring us happiness?  That sounds awfully radical, doesn't it?

Changing our ways is not easy.  We need to find new ways of social organization that will facilitate a tide change in governance necessary to usher in a new economic vision that serves people instead of preying on them.   The thing is, we can't begin to get there while we choose to blame others for what we've brought on largely by ourselves.


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