Thursday, October 15, 2009

Peace Geek on Climate Change (Blog Action Day '09)

This year's blog action day topic is Climate Change. The idea is to get as many bloggers as possible from around the world to share opinions on Climate Change and encourage our leaders to prioritize this issue and take action. Check out http://www.blogactionday.org for more information.

I've been reading "Hot, Flat and Crowded" recently and getting charged up (pun intended) about the idea of cheap, clean electrons. It sounds rather obvious that the time for debate is long past us and every moment we spend not developing and implementing a systemic solution for reducing atmospheric CO2 levels is going to make the job that much more difficult, if not impossible, done the road. I haven't finished the book, so I won't recommend it just yet.

The author - Thomas Friedman - makes enough assumptions of his own to enable people to poke holes in his arguments. One "given" that I'm struggling with is the idea that growth is a necessary condition for lifting people out of poverty. The struggle I'm having is a lack of distinction between growth to support peoples' needs versus growth to support peoples' wants. If I cut my consumption in half (since 50% of my consumption is to satisfy wants, not needs) and use that other half to meet the genuine needs of two people living in poverty, then we have zero growth but still help get people out of poverty. I still need to think through this. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I'm all ears (or eyes).

The implications for peace are that people who are not living in a state of despair are less likely to resort to violence to have their basic needs met. If the predictions of climate change impacts are anywhere near accurate, the competition for resources and violent struggle for existence will only increase if we don't address the problem sooner rather than later.

Peace,
Peace Geek

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