Posted by: Mike P. | February 5, 2010


@StrangeGlobal (Twitter, This Week Without Malaria in my Links) wrote “What about a global restriction on over-consumption? Some sort of responsibility cap on calories and material with altruism as penalty

I do not know how to respond to calories per se. Obviously I eat more than people in poor countries, and some of the calories I consume are expensive to produce or harmful to environment. I am not a vegetarian, for instance, and yet I am well aware of the pollution caused by the large cattle farms and the economic insanity of the useless subsidies paid to gentleman farmers who raise their cattle on US government land, but are too lazy to fence off the land from rivers. So, their cattle pollute our rivers and cause many problems downstream. I should be more careful. I’m not exactly sure how to go about it.

And then there is the real problem – the enormous amount of oil generated energy we consume in the west – at least in the US. Sometimes I just sit at the traffic lights and look the vehicles we drive. Where I live, I’ll bet not one in 20 makes 30 miles to the gallon. And for no reason at all. At least in this situation, I’ve done what I can. I still own my big pickup truck, but mostly I drive my small car that does get reasonable mileage. We also got rid of our larger boat and, next to sail, have about the most efficient boat possible. I’m sure some people would argue “why not a canoe?” Because I like power boats. Oh, and while sailing is conceptually interesting, for many reasons, it is not for us.

Our house is normally sized by most western standards. It is not a “McMansion” – a term used to describe the 3000+ sq. foot homes so many people buy. Those houses can be expensive to heat and air condition if not built properly. Occasionally, they are well built, but only if the buyer makes it a priority to demand the necessary options to make them so. Quite often, I suspect they are not well built and consume energy like a thirsty person consumes water on a hot day.

Anyhow, the realization that there are probably not enough resources in the world to share with all the people in the third world so that we can all enjoy a decent standard of living leads to the sad thought that there may be no way out of the conflicts embroiling the world.

Let’s face it. The world is not at war with Islam vs. Christianity. Perhaps some misguided individuals are. People that are easily lead and do not think. The problems in the world are largely resource driven. Who is going to come out on top? Religion is a tool in a war – a way to manipulate a group of people too lazy to think clearly. Not every theist is foolish because not every theist allows their thought processes on secular issues to be swayed by mush feed to them from the corporate heads to the political party leaders to the heads of churches to the pulpit. But, angry atheists spout off and attempt to marginalize every theist, which does not help. It just breeds more radical theists.

Prior to an oil economy, we had a coal economy. Whoever owned the coal held the keys to the world. But, there are many advantages to petroleum and its derivatives, and so petroleum won out over oil. I suggest that we are in a similar situation now. We are going to run out of oil. It is unlikely that my daughter will own a gas powered boat when she is my age. Unless she just keeps it in the garage. It is not clear if the new power source is going to be green or nuclear or wood. Or lightning. I have not studied nuclear power yet – breeder reactors and the like – I’ve only seen the hype, both for and against.

But, you can not listen to the hype, you have to strive for the truth. Otherwise, you end up believing that offshore wind farms are bad for the environment because a few birds might fly into the windmills. I’m sorry if you believe this, but quite frankly, that is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I’ve sure the birds will learn to not fly into the windmills soon enough. Big wooshing sound == dead bird. Don’t go to the wooshing sound. They will figure it out. The same way they usually do not fly into glass.

I am a lot more worried about the bees than the birds.


  1. Food for thought for sure – and a big ol’ hassle to think about.

    I guess my main idea for the world is to stop with the super-duper-bigger-is-better consumption hysteria already.

    For goodness sake, buy used, recycle, stop eating 5000 calories a day and then sue McDs for poisoning you, just stop (not you, this is just a general comment).

    I just wish people would get the hell over themselves and invest in quality of life rather than quality of possessions and money.


    Great post 🙂

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