Monday 5 June 2017

UN World Environment Day - June 5th 2017 - We are addicted to stuff

'The theme this year is "re-connect with nature" by sharing photos, creating activities and exploring our everyday world using inature. You are being encouraged to get out and have a nice time in the natural world, share the experience and perhaps do some citizen science. It's awareness raising at a time when awareness of the World's environment and its problems have never been higher unless you have spent the last 50 years in a windowless basement without access to TV, newspapers and the outdoors.

John Muir's Birthplace, Dunbar, the white house on the left.
The reality of climate change, pollution, species extinction and habitat destruction is not nice. It's our everyday activities including getting out and having a good time in the outdoors that are the problem. We are the problem. It's our insatiable desire for stuff fueled by consumerism.

So here is an alternative activity for World environment Day....... think about it.... try to come up with one environment problem that is NOT an unintended consequence of new technology. If you think that you have the answer please send it as a comment because I can't.

So why is this basic truth largely ignored?  Here are some  reasons, because new technology drives the capitalist and former communist systems. If you run a business you have to adopt new technology quickly to maintain your competitive edge otherwise you fail. There may be costs to the environment but you don't pay for these...... carbon dioxide and climate change are an example.

Our basic needs ( food, shelter, security ) are quickly met leaving little room for growth so we must be persuaded to buy more stuff that we don't need but are persuaded to want, this is consumerism,it drives economic growth and GDP the main yardstick of economic success.

The problem isn't lack of awareness it's addiction to stuff; fossil fuels, fashion, plastic, novelty, travel you name it.To quote Bill Clinton...."it's the economy stupid!"

John Muir's birthplace is to remind you that he climbed the mountains of California on a diet of bread and water, in an old suit, a battered hat and hob nailed boots. He didn't need Goretex or a razor. 

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