The Long Slow before the Quickening

Before it takes shape, as it gradually gains hold, the transition to consuming less – basically, what sustainable neutrality reverse is all about, no matter how specifically construed – is happening painfully too slowly. That ‘pace,’ if that’s the right word, explains part of the associated pain that feels all around, as though it were the the only thing accompanying the shift.

News media – ‘legacy’ is a very generous modifier at this point – have little at their disposal beyond the language of cost, suffering, loss, giving up, change in the context of deprivation. We can say this is the wrong framing, but acknowledging the limitation is important, especially if we are going to progress beyond it.

No magic button here, but a recognition of a kind of system-wide failure, of education, articulation, creativity. But that limit is shading another, broader system-wide failure unfolding right in front of us so slowly, slowly as it can and gradually as a massive system/combination of overlapping massive systems does, that it can seem invisible, not believable, deniable.

Maybe it has slipped the bounds of deniability, as several big things begin to occur at once and more quickly. The need to reckon with the slowness and the quickening, while not seeming to be our major challenge, is the key to unlocking all the other challenges. The cognitive dissonance of a world on fire/drowning will lead to despair absent the ability to think our way out of it.

In some quarters, that is indeed a dark thought. But that’s what we’ve got to do. As I’ve written here and elsewhere over the years, the Earth is still a kind of lady in waiting, with waning patience for us to get our act(s) together. She’s going to start touching herself soon and we’re still not close to ready to think about that.

Meanwhile, Back at the Front

of the Curve, the Germans (and others) continue to cook, eat and run-off the lunch we presume to deny ourselves.


That’s a tremendous percentage of their power needs and will only increase as they continue to put the infrastructure in place to supplant fossil and nuclear energy. As the price per kWh of solar continues on a kind of Moore’s Law trajectory, the question of how cheap it can get is dwarfed by the one which asks, how long will it take us to begin cooking-lighting-gaming-blogging using this and other (any!) renewable resources? The two questions don’t seem to be informing one another in this country yet, and sure, the scale of the U.S. is prohibitive on this front for a while, just as it once was for paved roads, and remains for high speed broadband – which remains scandalously snail-ish compared to other places, largely thanks to “competition.” Hey, wait a minute…

Anyway, bravo Deutschland.