Monday, 17 September 2007

awkward truths

I'm collecting awkward truths about green issues. It might help with some projects down the line, but mostly it's a blogging line of enquiry, I thought would be interesting.

Here are a few to get us started, but I am looking for many more:

- one root of the problem is population growth

- a person's environmental impact is roughly proportional to their income

- if we criticize big cars, what about big houses?

- recycling is too little too late

- consumerism got us into this mess, is it likely it will get us out of it?


William said...

Population growth is a biggy, and will destroy us. Just after we destroy everything else.

In Eastern Congo we have the highest population density in Africa, and many other African countries still firmly believed that a large family will create wealth... despite all evidence to the contrary.

I have yet to see anyone trying to convince people here that large families are probably not a good idea. Anyone up for a challenge?

John Dumbrille said...

Population growth may not be something that green marketing can address. But the desire to sell more, more, more is deep seated, and seems to be an unstated assumption of most green marketing.
And this assumption can be addressed.
I think we could add to the list: the way green products are typically sold falls within a conspicuous consumerist model. The result can be worse than short circuiting belief in the integrity of the product offering. It can cause widespread despair and cynicism.

Anonymous said...

Those who currently make the biggest negative impact are capable of making the greatest positive one by changing their actions - and equally, a small change by a big player can have a bigger (immediate, practical) impact than a small player making radical changes.
This can result in 'evil' companies/brands being the rationally better/greener choice. Awkward enough?

Anonymous said...

Here's one.

Every renewable or so called alternative energy source is reliant to some degree on a fossil fuel. You can't make lead-acid storage batteries for solar electric systems using any know solar energy system. Metal wind turbines cannot be made with wind-power alone.

Here's another one.

This one is more of an emotional truth than a rational one. The more one learns about the challenges we face the more daunting it becomes. The shear scale and complexity can be overwhelming.

Hope those make sense.

Anonymous said...

How about this one, which I read in the NY Times:

Lamb raised in New Zealand and shipped 11,000 miles by boat to Britain produces 1,520 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per ton, while British lamb consumed in Britain produces 6,280 pounds of carbon dioxide per ton.

speed* said...

Apathy. Is the biggest problem. I am doing a campaign with a youth brand and the kids actually know a lot about the issues but they don't think they can do anything about it. Apathy as always is the biggest enemy we ever had.

Anonymous said...

‘changing my light bulbs won’t stop China building coal-fired power stations’

‘without consumption increasing capitalism collapses’

‘solution integration is slower than the increasing speed in problems’

‘nuclear power might be the solution’

‘bio-fuels planting increases food prices’

‘single nation commitments fail to address the global problem’

‘climate change is not the biggest problem’

‘carbon-neutral doesn’t exist’

‘lessening only works if allied to innovation’

‘innovation isn’t supported by behemoth institutions’

‘radical change only occurs as a reaction’

‘green-fatigue is becoming an issue’

‘western awareness/understanding is not matched by the rest of the world’

‘talking and action are not the same thing’

‘action feeds off belief change, people struggle with changing beliefs’

‘do I change my consumption or should the producers change their production’

‘if it isn’t easy people won’t act’

‘it’s the government’s responsibility’

‘why are the government telling me how to live’

‘I care more about my immediate identity through my consumption than I do about long-term survival’

‘the problem has already gone too far/doesn’t exist/not my responsibility/too difficult/too complex/unaffected by individuals – therefore I agree with action but won’t act’

‘if Al Gore can fly round the world why can’t I’

‘my car, my clothes, my holidays, my food, my life - has been achieved through hard work and it is who I am – why should I change, I’m not a ‘greeny’

‘linear ‘production to consumption’ cannot continue without resource wars’

‘cyclical resource use must go beyond recycling’

‘the rest of the world can’t have what the developed nations have but want it and deserve it’

‘continuous economic growth is the only model we have’

‘pop concerts achieve little real change’

‘awareness is nothing without proof of change’

‘little actions added together will not be enough to make the change we need’

‘there is no vision for a fully sustainable earth’

‘kids (the inheriting generation) care, understand and can talk to each other through a newly connected world over but have no leaders to follow or be guided by’

john dodds said...

New York is one of the cleanest cities in US producing a quarter of the per capita emisisons of the national average yet average income mut be much higher.

As for the lamb - what about the recent revelation about the soil asssociation notable who was shippping her organic meat to germany and I believe Italy for processing before selling it here?