American Lifestyle Is the Problem and to Suggest Otherwise is Delusional
We are assured by Florida's Governor Crist that the American lifestyle is not incompatible with the need to address climate change [search] and reduce fossil fuel consumption. As paraphrased by Reuters, “Americans do not need to pare back their lifestyles to help protect the global environment but may need to use sugar or orange peel to power their energy-guzzling Hummers and Cigarette boats. ” It was awfully decent of Mr. Crist, a Republican, to unlike his compatriots, even acknowledge global heating is occurring, and introduce very modest efforts in Florida to reduce emissions. Yet he is dead wrong about what will be required to address climate change.
The crazily consumptive, super size, sexily scintillating, over the top American lifestyle is precisely the reason global climate is changing and the Earth's ecosystems collapsing. In a bit over two centuries a largely intact ecological continent has been over-populated, its forest liquidated, its waters abused, and oceans over-harvested. While lagging behind Europe and Asia in terms of degree of decimation of regional ecosystems, it is only because they have had longer. There has never been a resource consumption binge like the American century, and there never will be one again, because we have wastefully used most of the world's resources.
The American lifestyle is deeply, profoundly unsustainable. The gravest political peril in achieving global ecological sustainability is lack of politically skilled and viable leaders willing to tell the truth regarding the shape and scope of personal and societal change necessary to save the Earth and humankind. Shared sacrifice, living more simply yet fully, and reducing our family size, consumption, emissions and general ecological footprint; are all vital components of addressing climate change. As much of the world seeks to emulate our opulent, self-indulgent ways; the use of the Earth's resources has clearly moved beyond what it can sustainably provide.
We could have all the geo-engineering, certified forestry, coal sequestration and nuclear development in the world; and without greater conservation and efficiency we are only buying a bit of time There are not enough orange peels to fuel Hummers and Cigarette boats for any but the super rich. Yet these types of biofuels may well keep the lights on in a new frugal economy in touch with the Earth's needs and constraints. Shame on you Mr. Crist and all duplicitous political and economic powers that falsely and without merit suggest we can burn the Earth and sustain her too.
Climate policy can only be effective if based upon ecological truths. And one such truth is that going green DOES mean sacrificing the American lifestyle. And it is deeply wasteful of time and resources necessary to solve global ecological crises to suggest otherwise.