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EP7040 Brief01

Page history last edited by John E. Martin 11 years, 6 months ago



It's Not Easy Being Green

or, what a 6-legged frog can teach us about change and pain

Despite all the press in the past decade about the green movement, we have progressed no further than lip service and token gestures. Assuaging our sense of guilt is the media and their articles about any number of "easy ways" to save the earth. Unfortunately there is no easy way to be green. The things that need to be done to stabilize the impact our consumption has on our environment will be neither easy nor cheap. There will be pain associated with the solution, the pain of having to adjust to a lifestyle that is far less lavish than that to which we have become accustomed. However, unless we are presented with a 6-legged frog - that visual representation of the significance of our impact, we are unlikely to seek change as a result of intrinsic motivation.


Friedman shared an unusually good quote from Pentagon planners -

"A vision without resources is a hallucination."


Without a systemic response shaped by an intelligent design and buttressed by market forces, higher efficiency standards, tougher regulations, and an ethic of conservation that might have a chance of turning that vision into reality, we have a green hallucination, not a green revolution. As Friedman points out, there has not yet been a revolution where someone doesn't get hurt. In this case, the hurt equates to adjusting our consumerism to a level far lower that where it stands now. The lifestyle of Americans is the gold standard by which the world measures itself and if we can make the tough decision to live a far less consumptive lifestyle, then perhaps that  and serving as will serve as an example to those who desire to be like us.


To effect the greatest and most lasting change, we need to work in the middle, not in the margins. We need to create definitions of our problems and then set benchmarks to gauge progress. Friedman shares a theory by Robert Socolow that there are 15 things we could do, that we only need to do 8 but that the cost associated with them, in terms of both money/resources and the impact on our desired lifestyle, will make it unlikely that we will ever make that leap. 

Don't look to or offer platitudes, look for, or better yet provide, subtantitive change.




Frog with six legs

Photo Credit: MARK TAYLOR/Waikato Times


Energy Change Graph

Robert Socolow from his presentation PDF on the CarbonTax.org website - http://www.carbontax.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/socolow-_-wedges-_-oct-2004.pdf


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