I have to agree with Mr. McKibben on the urgency concerning climate change. I read a few comments here pointing out some "contradictions" with what Bill was saying and his own actions ( flying around the world etc.). But there are always these contradictions. For me a contradiction was being in a professional job that had the purpose of conservation of the environment. Meanwhile, as I wrote purportedly meaningful reports and attended meetings with profound intent, the environment I was supposedly protecting was getting bulldozed at an ever increasing rate. So I made a shift to work that more directly, in my view, impacted environmental change. Nevertheless this has not diminished contradiction - the manufacture of this computer and the maintenance of the infrastructure that makes it useful -
I was once at a "pollution prevention" conference where all of the drinks were served in styrofoam cups, the meeting times prevented using public transportation to get to the conference and there was no system for encouraging car pooling. It may have been useful pointing these things out to conference organizers so that pollution prevention measures could be more integrated into the conference itself. But it probably would not have been useful to run calculations to attempt to determine whether those environmental impacts negated the value of having the conference in the first place. We have to pick our battles one could say.
The issue more to point is educating ourselves to what we as individuals can do differently that moves us all towards a different lifestyle. For me now it is pulling a floor out of a house before it gets bulldozed. Even if I can't save the other parts of the house or change the mind of the party responsible for wanting it bulldozed to begin with - just as there is a person now doing my old job of writing reports about what needs to be done to conserve land. That is their job. Mine is now to directly remove tons of materials from the waste stream. Both are needed.
I think I am going to send out my newsletter as I do each month to about 1,000 people. Because I heard this show this morning I may write a more convincing argument to my customers about the need for them to buy used materials, rather than new -that requires cutting down more trees whilst the salvageable wood otherwise goes to the landfill ( by train from Connecticut to Ohio !).
So can I demonstrate that Bill's effect on my next newsletter compensates for the electricity it took to broadcast your show or for Bill to drive ( or ,gasp, fly) to your studio ? Probably not. Bill has to make decisions about the impact of his actions just like I did sitting at my desk as an environmental analyst. If he waits for the contradictions to go away, it will be too late. I trust that Bill is making reasonable decisions as to when he uses an airplane or what kind of car he drives. Partly because it takes a great deal of focus ( read working 65 or more hours a week) for me to make these important decisions in my own life and the amount of effort for me to try to change Bill's decisions would likely have near zero results and diminish my own opportunities.
There is the old saying " everyone does their own job, everything gets done". Given the direction community and the environment are headed it looks like all of us need to change our personal habits. I know what I need to do ( although the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak). I do not necessarily know what Bill or anyone else needs to do. But I suspect Bill's changes have more to do with making decisions about when to fly or not than about whether to save windows or flooring.
Hopefully we are both making the right decisions because that is a start towards a sustainable community.As was indicated in the interview, those of us that have some "margin" left have more capacity and responsibility for making environmentally responsible choices. And if we are thinking that our "margin" is too small to allow us to make personal changes, it probably means we have not considered Bangladesh lately.
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