Judson Mitchell said:
Unfortunately this forum is starting to resemble the religious forum, and in some ways has surpassed it. It is my hope that we become refocussed on issues that have come to the forefront because of the publicity.
We have created a global society of consumers of resources and are continuing to create massive infrastructures to support our excesses. Many consider it their right to consume as much and as rapidly as their resources will allow with no consideration for the consequences. Then they tailor their beliefs to support a lifestyle. When circumstances push gas prices over $4, we blame politicians, not our choice to commute 50 miles a day in a large SUV. There are a multitude of parallel examples. Folks face it, you are part of the problem and can play a part in the remedy.
My attention to environmental issues started in the 8th grade when my science teacher presented the status of coal reserves making me believe that we would run out in 20 years. It has helped form my attitude about life activites and how at least I behave with respect to resources. (That was in 1954)
Perhaps it may be more fruitful if we stop the bickering about whether it is global warming or climate change and start doing a little more to reduce our excesses.
But first you must stand up in front of everybody and say, "I am an excessive consumer!". I'll give you just one example and then shut up. The other day my cell phone disappeared. To make a long story short, it had fallen out of my car unnoticed at an astronomy club meeting and subesequently got run over. Since it didn't work, the solution was to get another. I went to my drawer of used cell phones and selected the best one which was replaced by the freebee that came with a renewed contract. Now mind you it is just a "PHONE". Not a video camera, music player, typewriter, etc.
We are rapidly approaching the time when we max out our ability to maintain what we have. We are outgrowing our ability to support our infrastructure and are causing havoc in our trail. Wake up folks!
I'll venture one observation ONLY, since I don't want to start a "food fight"...
I submit the problem isn't that we are "excessive consumers"; rather that that which is being consumed is being provided at a "subsidized" cost versus its true "lifecycle cost"... and so have incented "excessive" consumption.
If when we bought things, we ALSO had to pay for all the hidden (downstream) costs directly associated thereto, well then consumption behaviors would most certainly be different, and more closely aligned to true need (by definition).
The problem is the level of indirection built into our supply chain for just about everything (from food or medicines, to frivolity).
To me, that is the only sane way of addressing the problem; else-wise you are simply substituting one power-groups "morality" for anothers, and imposing such belief systems on others via force. Which ALWAYS leads to screaming, shouting, and ultimately... violence.
I, for one, don't want anyone telling me what I "need" (or don't), or whether I "deserve it" or not. One man's vice is another's life-saver. Who can presume to have that right? By what authority?... Which "animal" is more equal than the others?
What if it were scientifically shown that a certain genetic, racial trait, actually caused all members of that race to become "excessive consumers" (of something, say, a certain need for medical care that nobody else needed). does the majority then decide that providing such medicines (with all the resources needed to do so) are "excessive"?
Would we then BAN it? Clearly (I hope!) not! Problem is: how do you draw that line? Who gets to draw it? By what right?
Only right way IMHO is to have total, and realistic, lifecycle costs as part of the equation. So that consumption is no longer "excessive", but rather directly tied to value and price.