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The Real Solution

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  • Richard Risemberg
    ... -- Richard Risemberg http://www.bicyclefixation.com http://www.newcolonist.com http://www.rickrise.com
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 11, 2007
      Begin forwarded message:

      > Posting from James Howard Kunstler's 'Clusterfuck Nation' blog.
      > http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/clusterfuck_nation/
      >
      > We Want Solutions!
      >
      > May 28, 2007
      > Wherever the environmentally-informed gather these days (i.e.,
      > the clusterfuck-aware), a nervous impatience often mounts, and ends
      > up expressing itself as an outcry for "solutions." For example, at
      > the Telluride Mountain Film Festival, where I happened to be this
      > past weekend, along with a couple of hundred other people who
      > spewed airplane exhaust across the stratosphere to get there. This
      > year's twin themes were the Castor-and-Pollux of Clusterfuck
      > Nation, Global Warming and Peak Oil.
      >
      > Many frightening documentary films and Powerpoint talks were
      > served up in the opening symposium (including ones by Dennis
      > Dimick, the editor of National Geographic, Daniel Nocera of MIT,
      > and yours truly) and, as the morning wore on, the audience grew
      > visibly impatient, until one speaker dropped the word "solutions,"
      > and the audience gave out a big whoop of approbation.
      >
      > It only made me more nervous, because this longing for
      > "solutions," strikes me as a free-floating wish for magical rescue
      > remedies, for techno-fixes that will allow us to make a hassle-free
      > switch from fossil hydrocarbon power to something less likely to
      > destroy the Earth's ecosystems (and human civilization with it).
      > And I think such a wish is, in itself, at the root of our problem
      > -- certainly at the bottom of our incapacity to think clearly about
      > these things.
      >
      > I said so, of course, which seemed to piss off a substantial
      > number of my fellow festival attendees.
      >
      > My position on this can be easily misunderstood. I don't want
      > civilization to collapse (I like Mozart and access to root canal).
      > I don't want Homo sapiens to go extinct, or the planet to parboil.
      > I certainly don't believe in doing nothing in the face of this
      > emergency. But I also don't believe we are going to make any hassle-
      > free switch in the way we run things -- or that we should want to.
      > Would the USA be a better place if we could run Wal-Mart and Las
      > Vegas on wind power? I don't think so. Would the public benefit
      > from another hundred years of suburban living -- and an economy
      > based largely on creating ever more of it? All the Prozac in the
      > universe would not avail to offset the diminishing returns of that
      > bullshit.
      >
      > In my travels, I have noticed a disturbing theme among the
      > educated minority of eco-advocates: they are every bit as dedicated
      > to the status quo (in their own way) as the NASCAR morons and
      > shopping mall developers. The eco-advocates want cars, too, and all
      > the prerogatives (like free parking and country living) that go
      > with them, just like the WalMart shoppers. If this were not so,
      > then why do the eco-advocates cream in their jeans whenever
      > somebody presents a snazzy new vehicle that runs on a fuel other
      > than gasoline? Indeed, why are some of the eco-friendly pouring all
      > their efforts into the invention of such things instead of into
      > walkable communities and the reform of our stupid land-use laws?
      >
      > I encountered this ethos most strikingly a few years back at
      > Middlebury College in Vermont, where angry biodiesel advocates
      > assailed my lack of enthusiasm for their particular "solution" --
      > which seemed geared mainly to allow them to continue to drive their
      > dad's old cast-off SUVs to the snowboarding venues of that
      > progressive little state. But the wish to keep running all our cars
      > permeates what little public discussion there is of the global
      > warming / energy crisis issues at all levels. Even the elder
      > statesmen of the eco-movement talk it up incessantly. The first
      > great victory will come when they shut up about it and put their
      > minds to other tasks.
      >
      > The eco-advocate community is still hooked into the Faustian
      > bargain of technology with little consciousness of its diminishing
      > returns, and to some extent have made themselves unwitting tools of
      > the truly clueless and wicked who run business and politics in our
      > land. With this particular group in Telluride, which was composed
      > heavily of Boomer eco-adventurers (mountain climbers, trekkers,
      > kayakers), the infatuation with ever-cooler adventuring techno-gear
      > extended naturally, it seemed, to their uncritical view of magical
      > techno-fixes aimed at "solving" the climate / oil mess.
      >
      > And the setting of the festival -- the Rocky Mountain ski
      > resort town of Telluride -- itself induced some eerie moments of
      > reflex nausea as one contemplated the many 10,000 square-foot
      > peeled-log dream palaces built by Hollywood producers, who derive
      > their fortunes by selling violent masturbation fantasies to
      > fourteen-year-olds. One couldn't fail to notice that three-quarters
      > of the storefronts along the little main street were occupied by
      > real estate sales offices.
      >
      > But I don't want to be doubly or triply misunderstood as
      > appearing to twang on the kind people who invited me there, or to
      > evade the obvious fact that I went (by airplane and shuttle van). I
      > thought it was worth going to carry this one little message: let's
      > stop talking about making better cars and start talking about
      > occupying the landscape differently -- which we're going to have to
      > do anyway.
      >
      >

      --
      Richard Risemberg
      http://www.bicyclefixation.com
      http://www.newcolonist.com
      http://www.rickrise.com
    • Warren Weisman
      I d like to run an article about losing weight by getting rid of one s car in one of the first 3 editions of Sporeprint magazine starting in September. Any
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 15, 2007
        I'd like to run an article about losing weight by
        getting rid of one's car in one of the first 3
        editions of Sporeprint magazine starting in September.


        Any references, direction, statistics, etc. would be
        greatly appreciated. I'd really appreciate the names
        of any professionals interested in this issue who I
        could contact.

        Warren Weisman
        Sporeprint
        http://www.sporeprint.org



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