Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Saving the world

Climate change as a political issue seems to have reached a tipping point before it reached a real tipping point. It remains to be seen if we've gotten there in time. At the moment, there is lots of rhetoric and small-time action. Some individuals and companies are taking it upon themselves to "green" their lives and operations. Many world leaders are talking about emissions goals for 10 to 50 years from now.

This is all very nice (and I'm part of it), but it's not going to solve much. Many journalists and bloggers are pointing this out. My composting toilet will be cool, but it's not going to solve anything on a global scale. I can make my house zero-energy and low-water, but there Earth will still boil over. Many leaders are trying to leave the climate change solution up to individuals and corporations. While many are answering the call, it's not enough.

But many authors worry that green consumers are assuaging their conscience with organic cotton and carbon offsets for their SUV and leaving it at that. While the recycled plastic decks aren't going to save the planet, they are being noticed by businesses and politicians. At the moment the green-product marketplace is probably still minuscule compared to the rest of the economy. But a conversation has begun.

What's important now is that all of us who realize the need for change continue to speak out, both with our voices and out pocket books. We need to remind our leaders that this is a real problem. We need to remind manufacturers that we care enough to pay a little bit extra. I also think it's important to convince our peers that they should pitch in as well.

I think this is missed in the media. The crazies get covered (and have their place). The 50 mile diet families and the like get lots of buzz and start conversations. But one of my goals is to make modest changes and demonstrate to friends and neighbors that drastically reducing your impact does not mean drastically changing your life.

When I mentioned the composting toilet plan to my mother-in-law, I got quite a look. I can argue the evidence till I turn blue, but seeing it in action will have a much better effect.

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