A comment on the last post offers the view that we are both creators and created, and with that dual role comes our responsibility for our ill Earth. Yes. If we don’t take care of it, Earth will not be taken care of.
In the context of what we as individuals can do, I have found some good news and some bad news.
First the good news. An absolutely essential wedge of the solution to halting environmental destruction lies in individuals using less energy and using it more responsibly. The encouraging fact is that this can make a huge difference, and take us a long way down the road to success. So the argument “I can’t really do much in the face of such a vast problem” really must be faced down. If all the “I’s” in the world decide that somebody else has to solve the problem, it won’t be solved. All the “I’s” in the world, though can make a mega-difference.
Now for the bad news. It’s not always easy, it’s not always simple, and quite often, it’s not inexpensive. It’s not always easy to walk or bike when possible instead of getting in the car. Or to recycle, to turn off lights and the stand-bys on our electronic devices, to use rainwater caught in our waterbutts, to turn down our thermostats in winter or up in the summer. Etc.
To make matter worse, it’s not always simple to know what is best. Eating organic food seems best until you look at the figures and see that millions of people will starve if we all go organic. Bio-fuels seem like a brilliant idea until you start doing the sums and realize that if it’s not done very carefully, we are faced with a choice between food and fuel. (It’s one of the things that already is raising the price of food.) Eating food grown close to home seems more environmentally friendly that importing from another continent. But food-miles for food grown in ones home country are often higher than they are on imported foods. Etc.
And reducing energy use does not always mean it will save money. It generally takes years to recoup the cost of house insulation or the installation of solar panels. Wind turbines on individual homes are unlikely to recoup their cost in the lifetime of the family that installs the turbine. If you install a new energy-efficient boiler and then sell your house, you will probably lose money. Etc.
Is it still worth doing? I think it is if it’s worth trying to save the planet.