Greed to Green by Charles Derber

In Greed to Green by Charles Derber,  scientists are quoted who make a disturbing argument that unless drastic changes occur very quickly in cutting our CO2 emissions, global “weirding” may not be reversible. Ever. While I am hopeful that enough people will come up with technology to save the planet, perhaps the situation is more dire than I anticipated.

I fully support the notion that by pursuing green technology, we can create jobs that can help end the recession.  A “two-fer” as he calls it.  I don’t understand anyone’s resistance to pursuing alternative energy.  Someone argued with me that reliance on green jobs has wrecked Europe’s economy.  There is little evidence of this.  Yes, Europe is also experiencing a recession, but it is not because of going “green.”  Besides, what alternative do we have?  Manufacturing jobs have moved to developing countries and they are not going to come back.  The dot-com bubble has made internet jobs slow down, and the housing bubble has shown us that we can’t all get rich on real estate.  Teaching and government jobs are being cut,  The only real option seems to be to create companies.  Rather than create a company that produces stuff we don’t really need and will end up in the landfill, why not create a company that tries to help the environment and our reliance on fossil fuels?

People want jobs, and there are certainly oil-drilling jobs to be had if we drill more.  But those jobs are short-term.  Look at all the abandoned oil fields in Venezuela and other places.  Oil is not infinite, and we have to figure out how to ration it, not just go after all of it in a gluttonous frenzy.  “Get it now” has been the mentality of pacific fishermen, who have utilized disastrous fishing methods:  gillnets, longlining, dynamite fishing.  It is clear that the oceans are becoming overfished, but still the aggressive fishing continues.  The same pattern seems to be true for oil.  When will we learn?

Derber advocates swiftly replacing our corporate regime with a green one and says “In a green regime, growth as the ultimate economic aim has to be replaced with sufficiency, a quality of life sufficient to sustain social well-being but not marked by our current excess promoting the tragedy of the commons.”

How to approach climate change?  Many people I know are fanatical about recycling or not using plastic wrap.  These are admirable steps, but are not even a drop in the bucket when we need world-wide policy and energy change.  Derber explains:  “These micro and personalized approaches cannot stop climate change. But the lifestyle changes and the neighborhood groups people are joining in large numbers nurture a more collective political consciousness and activism.”  Reduce, re-use and recycle is the first step, perhaps.  Derber asserts that when a person starts recycling, she is becoming more personally committed to the larger green struggle.  The challenge is to realize that these small action aren’t enough, and that we need to organize together to demand and initiate lasting and meaningful change.

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