Doing things differently, or doing different things?

Alex Steffen of really is one of my favourite environmental writers because he GETS the magnitude of the crisis we face, and yet somehow remains positive about our potential to survive and thrive in the coming decades, even if that is not guaranteed.

My favourite paragraphs:

Small steps, personal responsibility. incremental reform, gradually better standards, 50-year targets for action — most of the solutions offered in the green tool chest right now are, unfortunately, completely insufficient. Not insufficient in the sense that we’d like them to be better in a perfect world: insufficient in the sense that if we do them all, we still face a strong possibility of planetary catastrophe and the collapse of civilization.

We need to challenge the assumption that we can live much as we do today, with improved gadgets and standards (suburban, consumerist life with an electric car here, a green building there, a CFL in the next room). We can’t. It won’t work. We need to change how we live. If we’re smart, we’ll end up better off — with more wealth, higher qualities of life, healthier families, and safer communities — but we must start to talk not about doing things differently, but about doing different things.

It’s been the failure of environmentalism that we haven’t really engaged what a bright green, sustainably prosperous life might be like. We talk a lot about consequences, but talk too little about what prosperity in a world of hard limits can mean, and we demand far too little from the pundits and publications weighing in on these questions. If planetary boundaries mean anything, they mean it’s time to stop pretending that “greener” is good enough. We need pragmatic brilliance and transformation. Anything less is just cluttering the discussion.

Worldchanging: Bright Green: Planetary Boundaries and The Failure of Environmentalism.

This entry was posted in Industrial Ecosystems, Population, Social Justice. Bookmark the permalink.

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