Sustainability – why I act less than I preach

As you may have read about before, I don’t particular see myself as an individual who has ‘green’ politics.  On the contrary, I believe that many green issues need and deserve mainstream focus and should never be marginalized, positively or negatively, by politics, and they actually crux upon our survival through the coming centuries and beyond – how we get even power?  How we develop enough materials?  How can we live with a growing population?

Sustainability I am passionate about, because I feel surprisingly pessimistic about the state of mankind’s development.  I do not have a belief that scientists and the economics of the future will offer constant solutions to our problems?  I do not believe that science will answer all the rarities that are present on Earth.  Will future generations scour rubbish dumps in the search for rare Earth metals?  Will commonplace technologies rather than decrease in price actually increase due to the extra energy required to produce them?

I really  fear about the kind of world that people may be forced to live in even more than now – I fear that it will separate society’s rich and poor even more than at present and I fear more than that a world created by it which won’t be able to make progress because it is built upon consumerisation above a level our Earth can consume.

I had a really deep philosophical discussion last night with a best friend of mine, and what really troubles me is our purpose of life.  For me, the perfekt story is one that will be able to get to the end of time, however insanely cold or hot that universe will be.  It will be one at some point in the family chain we have the ability to leave Planet Earth before the Sun devours our fair planet and find a way to survive in the universal abyss.  It is therefore essential that we are still able to make scientific progress as a collective, and not just dominate as a species and let disease or natural disaster or our own greed be our downfall, like it has been for so many species on Earth since its creation.

It frustrates me how because democracies are scared of losing elections, true leadership issues like the population of the planet, rather than who runs it, are actually what they should be doing.  Whatever one thinks about China and their childbirth policies of the past, they were brave enough to admit the problem and look to solve it, and we can not argue that China is not prospering from it now.

You can see I hope how pertinent this type of issue is to me, but I do not practice anywhere near enough what I preach so vividly here.  My energy usage in my flat for a start is unlimited, and while I’m certainly not abusing this, I certainly have made conscious decisions (or more accurately conscious ignored) that I’ve left the TV on standby or my computer on for the night.  I am a reasonably good recycler, but there are those times when I just can’t be bothered.  If in doubt, I wash clothes rather than not wash them, and I’ve been increasing the amount of time I put them in the dryer for too.

And also, I’m flying back for Christmas, and flying back, and flying back and forth again for the week 9 holiday here in Sweden.  This does make me feel really comfortable inside, but economically it is the thing to do.  It saves me valuable time, and is many many times less expensive.  Now, money is not a huge problem currently, but I’m in no position to waste it and it will be useful in the future I can guarantee.  My question goes out to the governments of the world – how can we let this be the case?  The planet’s quality of life will erode with us continuing to increase our worldwide and immediacy nature.  End of.  The minor benefit to the planet for me getting home for Christmas on time is not worth the sacrifices we make to the planet now – but these are decisions for the governments of the world to dictate, not us consumers on the ground, we are never going to be big enough.

So I act less than I preach about sustainability, for there are other factors of living in the way.  Time for a start, having my own space, making sure I look my best, the effort I can be bothered to give, and the general feeling that I need to make my own way successfully, which can not be perfectly sustainable, it has to be a little more.

We need strong guidance, and heavy handed and rough and revolutionary (both in practice and in public opposition) it may be.  But please, politicians of the world, take a gamble and forget the next five years of your career, make changes to support generations further after you have been ousted from office.

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