Sunday, April 29, 2007

Stuck in Climate Change Purgatory?

This in the New York Times today on Carbon Neutrality as modern-day indulgences!
Quoting Andrew Revkin:
" the carbon-neutral movement just a gimmick?

On this, environmentalists aren’t neutral, and they don’t agree. Some believe it helps build support, but others argue that these purchases don’t accomplish anything meaningful — other than giving someone a slightly better feeling (or greener reputation) after buying a 6,000-square-foot house or passing the million-mile mark in a frequent-flier program. In fact, to many environmentalists, the carbon-neutral campaign is a sign of the times — easy on the sacrifice and big on the consumerism." go read it

Of course "carbon neutrality only works if "carbon emissions" is a zero-sum game (only X amount of carbon can be in the atmosphere, so I will pollute and you will off-set my X tons of carbon emissions by NOT giving off X tons).

We all know (don't we?) that Carbon-neutral companies don't work that way. They say they will put our carbon payments towards fighting global warming or other such vague efforts, but unless they are able to show someone else is literally offsetting my output, it is not going to work.

So, what can we do on a local scale to move off the dime and make some actual reductions? Better transit use and availability? Better community planning (work, stores, residences, schools within closer proximity)? What is it that we will do (are willing to do?!) in our communities to start a change? That's a question that bothers me daily because I think climate change is one problem we can't solve on an individual or family level. It will take community cooperation and sacrifice - which means the first step is building real community trust and cooperation first.

Who remembers how to do that?

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