Yesterday I posted a review of The End of Oil by Paul Roberts, which outlines how we are effectively running out of oil. Towards the end of my review I talked about some future approaches that I felt were missing from the book. One of these was addressing consumption and I suggested that we need to look at ways of reducing consumption that don't destroy our quality of life.
I just thought it might then be worth thinking a little bit about how this can be done. Firstly we need to be clear that there is a difference between quality of life and standard of living. There are many ways of reducing consumption that effectively reduce our standard of living as it is defined by society in general that don't decrease our quality of life.
For example, some ways in which I consume less than many people: not having a car; not taking holidays abroad; not working full time; not having a widescreen tv and huge music centre; not buying new clothes every season. I accept that many people will consider me therefore to have a lower standard of living, but I don't for a minute think it means I have a lower quality of life!
We don't need loads of stuff to have a good quality of life!
As Rabbits' Guy pointed out in the comments yesterday, efficiency and energy conservation have important roles to play in helping the oil we do have last for longer, enabling us to transition to a future less dependent on oil and stuff.
And as bunnygirl said, although we all need to do what we can, politicians and companies have much more of a role to play than they seem to accept.
If we can all reduce our consumption then we can help to secure a sustainable future. Otherwise we may find ourselves in a situation where run-away climate change and associated disasters force us into a poorer quality of life.