23 January 2009

It's All In the Environment

Obama has a tremendous task laid out. I think he realizes that plowing money into the environment is one way to solve several problems at the same time. Green America makes several suggestions here for ways to support environmental change and economic recovery simultaneously.

The two most important items in the list, in my opinion:

Reduce, Reuse, Rethink. Recycling works, but it doesn't work hard enough. As long as our economy depends upon increasing consumption, recycling will only slow the flow of petroleum from the oil wells to the landfills, but it won't do anything to stop it.

Green Energy; Green Jobs. Moving to renewable resources of energy -- primarily sun and wind -- is crucial, but without reducing consumption we'll still be in the position of needing incredible amounts of natural resources just to produce all of the stuff we buy just so we can throw it away.

Use of renewable resources like wood and bamboo is, again, only a partial solution; we need significant long-term change in the way we think about buying stuff. Furniture should be for a lifetime, or even longer. (I'm very lucky. I'm typing this on a laptop computer that sits on a desk that came from my Great-Aunt Helen; she inherited it from her parents.) Shoes and clothing for a decade. (Can't say I'm doing that well there: I live, and walk, in the city, and I go through shoes in a year or two.)

It's an on-going project as I try to limit my long-term impact through decisions made every day.