Diamond-Cut Life

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The Choices We Do And Don’t Have

April 6th, 2009 by Alison · 2 Comments · energy, sustainability

The new Grist site has an article titled Myth: Using Less Energy = Sacrifice. Its author David Roberts is saying what mainstream culture wants to hear: no discomfort at hand as we deal with global warming. No lifestyle changes needed.

I know many progressive people, smart people, who promote this viewpoint. And I understand that they want very much to engage the mainstream in the green movement, and to not be marginalized, themselves. They want to be listened to, and not ignored or dismissed as eccentric, or even troublemakers. Reasonable things to want, certainly.

The problem is that this line of thinking, like our culture in general, assumes more choices than we actually have. The climate is changing much more rapidly than scientists had originally predicted, and we don’t have a choice about that fact or the dramatic coastline and food-supply disruptions that will cause. Oil is running out altogether within three or four decades, and we don’t have a choice about that fact or its large implications. Our lives in the near future, and particularly the lives of young people as they mature, will be sharply different than our current lives. I sense everyone is deeply intimidated by that, because they certainly aren’t accepting it.

When it comes to whether using less energy means sacrifice, I want to say that some people will experience it that way and some people won’t. But like so much of the current debates and proposed legislation, it’s not the right question, because it implies endless choice on our parts. The real choice lies in how we adapt to a changing climate and energy constraints.

I’m somewhat more objective than average in that I don’t need to make any money from my viewpoint, or appease the mainstream. I don’t need to hit any readership quotas because I don’t need any ads on my blog — although I do average more than 4,000 views per month :) . And I’m not intimidated by change.

I see Diamond-Cut Life as a tool for helping us embrace large-scale changes that are happening in any event. Our real choices lie in how we deal with them, not in how we can deny or resist them.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Positively Present

    I’m just stopping by your blog for the first time and I love it — and your attitude. I’ve just gotten into the world of blogging and sometimes it seems like a popularity contest. See who can get the most hits or the most comments so they can have the best ads and make the most money. To me, that’s not what blogging should be about. It should be about sharing your view — whatever that might be — with the world.

    Great site! :)

  • Avrion Fos

    Zizek says that through our mediated lives we now have an infinite capacity to ignore “the real”-extinction of species, climate change, the dark side of capitalism, etc… It is nice to see that there are folks inside the media bubble pointing to events of consequence that are occurring beyond it.

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