Diminishing returns eventually goes non-linear. Jevon’s Paradox points to path dependencies found in the human nature of consumption. At some point real sacrifices will be called for if green honesty is truly embraced. Modern life can only be greened up so much. There is a limit to green affluence especially within a trend of mass affluence in the modern era of large populations. Economist will tell us of decoupling of growth and resource use but reality tells a different story. There is likely room for marginal improvement. Basic conservation of individuals actions found in eating, electricity use, and leisure can be had.
Modern lifestyle itself can only be reformed so much. Much of this reform is put on the backs of technology. It is clear technology often shifts or offloads consumption problems elsewhere. Financialization and economics shifts production to low cost countries and more affluent countries claim a decoupling when this is not the case. Real change requires real sacrifice. Going electric transport is not real sacrifice but not driving is. Food waste is a problem of managing eating but also what we eat. The houses we live in are a big factor to consumption and where we live. This points to behavior-based change that leads to real change but to a point because the trap covers all activities. Using technology to clean up behavior just moves problems around and deceives people to thinking they are green further reducing the conservation effect. Accepting a trap allows a knowing of real limitations. REAL Green is ultimately limit based.
It appears the planet will drive conservation. Resource depletion and ecosystem decline are limiting modern trends. Disruption of stable climate will drive destructive change. This points to a trap that is behavior based as well as resource based. Humans are carbon trapped but instead feel they can transcend this carbon trap through technology. We can reduce our carbon drenched lives but not enough. This then points to the central narrative of humans which is survival. It also points to honesty of an eventual decline and or collpase that is inevitable. Do we embrace honesty or is an enlightened deception of green technology better? We are talking real pain and suffering ahead either way. We can go reduced carbon and pay a price or we can go business as usual and pay a price. If both lead to failure which is better? If we are openly honest that either way a decline and collpase is ahead then what results is who cares. How do we learn to live with this inevitability of decline and collpase?
REAL Green calls for an individual to scale and focus on what is immediate in our local of people and place. This comes from honesty and acceptance of the narrative driving modern human civilization is lost any way it heads. This acceptance then turns into a green prepping exercise of downsizing and collapsing in place. The physical sacrifice it made up for by meaning found through honesty and a more resilient living. Resilience and sustainability are survival based but also improve planetary health. This is not going to affect the big picture. This is true even if millions embraced this lifestyle. Remember there is only a marginal amount of green activity that can be squeezed from modern life that is characterized by over consumption plus over population. Yet, you can make a key difference in your microclimate of your local. You can see concrete results of improving your environment under your feet.
You will have to approach this relatively because you are trapped in the surreal of a delocalized local with people and significant others trapped in path dependencies of modern living. Nobody can escape the carbon trap of the Anthropocene. Yet, you can do your part and find increased safety by lowering your footprint. The reason this action of declining in place is a valid life system is this is what the planet is doing. The planet is in succession so you too should be in succession. Fighting decline is futile when that is what the planet is doing. Embracing succession will help ensure you can find a niche in destructive change to allow constructive change. This is the nature of ecology. Embrace this over a cultural narrative that promotes efficiency of more for less affluence. This decline lifestyle is for the awakened and being awakened is a privilege of education and the nurturing. The awakened must be humbled to this calling because they have been chosen by the planet not the other way round. We don’t treat the planet right. The planet treats us right. Remember that when you make your decisions.
“What a Milk Carton Can Tell Us”
“are all examples showing why overall reduction in resources use or emissions (absolute decoupling) through substitution and efficiency is a pipe dream in a growth economy. Those are all real world examples, but one can also ascertain that from a purely theoretical standpoint that total resource use is bound to increase in a growth economy. I have explained this earlier but will have another try in a coming post.”