Thursday, 15 October 2009

Blog Action Day - Climate Change

To start with, it's great to have some good news for the climate in the UK - plans for a coal fired power station at Kingsnorth have been shelved, as have the plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Of course these announcements don't guarantee that there won't be new power stations or new runways elsewhere in the country, but even so, this may be an indication that arguments are being listened to more carefully.

One of the things that I find most difficult in the mainstreaming acceptance of the reality of climate change is that we are often being asked to sacrifice biodiversity to 'green energy'. Chopping down the Amazon rainforest to plant crops for biofuels or building industrial sized windfarms on rare peat bogs is enough to break the heart of anyone who loves nature. These kinds of developments are also counterproductive anyway as peat bogs and rainforests are valuable carbon sinks in their own right and mitigate against climate change. (It's excellent to see that several major shoe manufacturers have pledged not to use leather from deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest and it would be great to see similar pledges from biofuel developers).

I'm not against windfarms, small community owned windfarms on brownfield sites that make communities self sufficient in power can make a genuinely environmentally friendly contribution and there are some in the UK, see:
http://www.communityenergyscotland.org.uk/about-us.asp. Biofuels too have a role, if they are made from waste materials (such as chip fat) rather than being made from crops that could otherwise have been used for food.

I think what the argument is often missing though is that the root of the problem lies with our overconsumption. Green technology is great, far better the hybrid car than the gas guzzler, but even better is to try to use public transport or even, more radically to ask whether the journey is even necessary in the first place.

for Blog Action Day

21 comments:

FARfetched said...

Very good points, although I might be more bullish on wind (while agreeing 100% that reducing consumption is at least as important). I especially like your conclusion: Green technology is great, far better the hybrid car than the gas guzzler, but even better is to try to use public transport or even, more radically to ask whether the journey is even necessary in the first place. That's one advantage of having a motorcycle, the time spent preparing to ride can help you question the necessity of the trip or prompt you to think of what other things can be accomplished with one trip.

bunnygirl said...

I completely agree with you about over-consumption. There's a vast difference between need and want, and our society has twisted it all around. I really do believe it will come back to bite us sooner rather than later.

Jasmine said...

Your post is far more intelligent than mine. You should link it to Theme Thursday.

Natural Moments said...

We need a little bit of everything, and a whole lot of nothing.

Nothing should dominate and everything should get together and celebrate each unique perspective.

Everything and everyone should be given the chance to shine in the sun.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What amazes me is that some humans turn their heating right up and sit wearing tshirts in winter, rather than turn the heating down and wear woolly jumpers!

Deb G said...

Lots of truth here. :)

Consuming less is the first step.

Rabbits' Guy said...

We all do seeem to need a lot....

M.Kate said...

We have the same problem. Over at EAst Malaysia, they are destroying thousands years old rainforest for a hydro power station, many people and animals will lose shelter..it is sad. Happy week..or weekend soon.

Angela Recada said...

Hello, Juliet,

Such good points you make here.

It's good to see that the UK is on the right track. If only we could get the United Corporations of America behind this movement. If they would put the greater good before short-term profits, we might see something really great start to happen. I'm not holding my breath, although I should, since the air in the US Great Lakes region is terribly polluted.

I'll be back again more regularly, now that I'm fired up about writing about the environment again. It seemed so useless, for a time. . . So few here seem to really, really care enough to change how they live.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Yes, green and greener equals less and lesser...

Michelle Johnson said...

some strong points made here. maybe change will come, slowly, as more get involved. have a great day.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

I so agree with your views and would like to see this country follow Germany's lead more when it comes to the treatment of waste and generation of power, especially in its use of anaerobic digesters. Best wishes. Lesley

libbyquilter said...

what an interesting blog this is and i am happy to have discovered it. also thank you for your visit and comment on my blog.

i am so very concerned with overconsumption of everything on this planet and sometimes think of the human species as worse than a plague of locusts . . .

it has ocurred to me more and more frequently that our current "economic downturn" is in reality good medicine for all of us. if the financial news does not show economic gains the world is suddenly in a panic. i realize that the problems are quite complex and we've dug ourselves an enourmous hole but using less and less and even less IS the answer even if it means re-adjusting our thinking about just how we consider ourselves wealthy.

:)
libbyQ

Kay said...

Thanks for some intelligent points made and to consider.

this is my patch said...

How I smile when I whizz past those queues of traffic when cycling into work. Not possible for everyone I know, but an ideal means of travel for anyone with a relatively short journey. I am fortunate though, as I can use a cycle path at least two thirds of the way. x

Ascender Rises Above said...

awww i missed blog action day. ... you are right; it is slowly changing around the world.

Deb said...

I couldn't agree more.

In the states, people like to be able to "have it all," with little sacrifice. Including myself. I get depressed about that (them & me) but somehow try to keep fighting the good fight.

Coastcard said...

I found this a really challenging and inspiring post. I have lots to learn!

Selma said...

For me, overconsumption is the major problem. We just want more. And then we want some more. Once we tackle that line of thinking we will begin to address the problem. I just hope by then it's not too late.

Lucy said...

Hear hear. Renewables are barely going to make a difference if demand continues to increase, and biofuels still produce carbon emissions, as well as requiring them in cultivation... I could go on!

Jacqui said...

Thanks for visiting me. Yes - we seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet here. I didn't know about the dropping of the Heathrow airport plans - good news indeed. Unfotunately these are balanced out by stories such as a large area of biodiverse land in Kenya about to be planted with biofuel crops :(
I enjoyed your post very much.