Acting Globally

Some [many] people want to do away with the social safety net, and especially any generosity remaining therein, to rely instead on the goodwill and support of charities to take care of those in need. There’s a cognitive dissonance about the reality that government-funded programs to help people are somehow perverse, yet giving to charitable organizations is not. Not that these fine citizens care about the lack of harmony between their world view and their actions.

But individual personal virtue can never displace collective action, particularly on the scale of a country the size of Ecuador, much less the United States. And the very same concept holds with regard to environmentalism:

Environmentalism-as-personal-virtue was a bad route. It isn’t a substitute for collective action. People don’t like being told how to live their lives, especially as you don’t have to understand this stuff all that well to get that we’re almost all big hypocrites. We make some easy choices and ignore the rest. We can make slightly better choices, but there’s no solar powered plane to fly me to Europe.

Yes, you can do things – live closer to work, own fewer cars – but not on the scale that’s needed to turn the tanker! Sprawl creates culprits of us all. Vote against it. Don’t move out there. Campaign for carbon-pricing, rail, renewable energy infrastructure and more affordable housing – built in the right places. Massive progress on things we’ve already figured out is what’s needed. Plus, less vehicles means fewer bumper stickers and perhaps, perhaps! even the need for them.

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.