Earth Day 2008 — Where Exactly Are we Going With This?

It’s an unusual Earth Day this year.  Awareness of global warming and other enviro trends is at an all-time high.  Pressure to “be green” in the marketplace is more intense than ever.  The fuel-guzzling SUV or mega-mansion is increasingly part of a bygone era.  Live simply seems to be the new standard. 

There is also a change on the corporate front.  Everywhere, states are pushing for stronger clean energy standards and investor-owned utilities are showing they can meet that.  Witness today’s Post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/21/AR2008042103004.html

The problem is that, despite the hype, overall energy use continues to increase.  There are many reasons.  Increasing population, increasing commerce, the never-ending supply of electronic gadgets that we use.

Very few of us show the stomach for sacrifice.  Hollering over rising fuel prices (which still don’t account for the carbon output into our atmosphere) is a perfect example of this.  

We need to reconcile our thirst for progress, which is the hallmark of capitalism, with a desire to either solve these issues technologically or simply live less impactful lives.   

Ergo, what do we do with Earth Day?

Here’s an exercise for those who want to be green:  try to live for a day on the resources that we took for granted a generation ago.  One refrigerator.  One land line for phone service.  No central air conditioning.  One television (okay two so you can always watch “Game Day” on ESPN).    

Doing that won’t immediately solve global warming, but it will do a lot more than buying a biodegradable cup of coffee from Starbuck’s. 

P.S.  Evan Day of Sierra Club wanted me to give a shout out to their “Power 2 Change” campaign which is making clean energy and conservation a major issue in 2008.  http://www.sierraclub.org/power2change/

Check out their petition. 

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