Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Buy different

There is an assumption that the solution to both peak oil and climate change would be to buy less and I think this needs to be challenged. And I'm not saying I wouldn't welcome a much less frenetic consumerism!

Without doubt, a rapid reduction in Carbon (so much easier than saying greenhouse gas emissions but we must remember it includes a number of other gases) would lead to a reorganisation of the economy. When this is something the powers that be want, it is a 'good thing'. Like moving away from manufacturing to a service economy, which will increase the number of jobs in high value businesses and create growth in new areas. But when it is forced upon them it is a 'bad thing' because it will mean loss of jobs and closing businesses and unemployment. Change always causes pain for some and gain for others whether the long term result is good or bad overall.

But if we all suddenly reduced our carbon usage by not travelling, not buying stuff, not heating our homes and not using electricity the economy would suffer badly, jobs would be lost, businesses close and because we were busy not spending, there would be little to replace them.

So we need to find a way to continue spending AND reducing carbon usage by choosing more carefullly how we spend our money. Do we fly to Rome for the weekend or buy a painting? Do we buy an apple from China or a local apple? Do we buy a plasma TV or a subscription to a movie channel?

Low(er) carbon spending usually involves not buying things but experiences or services.
Instead of buying a lawn mower, pay someone to mow the lawn for you (hopefully travelling around by electric vehicle)
Think quality before quantity
Eat at local resteraunts that use local foods
Get stuff repaired

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