I would not call myself an environmentalist or a climate change activist. I occasionally read news pieces on our scientific understanding of anthropogenic climate change, I listen to Radio Eco Shock, and I read PeakProsperity.com. In general I buy the line that our use of fossil fuels in the Industrial Age has altered the makeup of the Earth’s atmosphere enabling it to retain more of the heat which reaches us from the Sun. The Earth’s climate does change and has changed for many reasons but this concerns us particularly because it will likely impact on the planet’s carrying capacity for us as we have organized ourselves at the present.
Unlike Jim Kunstler I am not “allergic to conspiracy theories”; powerful people do combine to retain and increase their power. I do, however, believe that historic precedents generally point to people other than academics and community activists at the heart of history’s conspiracies so I highly doubt that “Climate Change is a Hoax”. I know enough to know that weather is not climate and that every heat wave in Springfield, Massachusetts is no more proof of global warming than every cold snap is its refutation.
I believe in the precautionary principle regarding the one planet we know we can occupy in this Solar System.
If you disagree with any of the aforementioned bits I suggest you click away. I’m not going to engage with anyone on climate conspiracy.
That said, the most recent Paris Conference meant nothing. We’re not doing anything to respond to the negative impacts our behaviors are having on the Earth’s carrying capacity for us. How do I, a lowly blogger, know this to be true? Because nothing is being done to cause us to change our behavior. As an American with a six figure family income I am easily a member of the global 1% and I’m being asked to do precisely bupkis.
I live a bit more frugally, in energy terms, than most people of my class already. We have one car. I’ve insulated the roof and the walls of the top floor of my home. I replaced the windows of my home which were unrepairable with energy efficient ones, I’ve refurbished all of the others. I have storm windows. I painted my roof white and went from air conditioning my home to using fans, window shades, and behavior modification to keep my house cool; it works most of the time. In winter we set the thermostat to 62 during the day and 58 or so at night and I remove the screens from the south facing windows and open up the shades to their max to capture sunlight. I’m making my own aluminum can solar heater for the basement. All of our lighting is LED or compact fluorescent.
But I’ll be honest, I do all that for fun. I could afford to go back to cooling this place with six window units (the lawyers who owned this building before I did used nine!), we could buy another car, we could set the thermostat to 70 in the winter, we could find, perhaps, incandescent bulbs and all of this would barely impact our monthly budget. And nothing from Paris is even nudging us to go further.
Why am I not even thinking about car pooling to work? Why are my daughter and her husband moving out of their apartment here in my home and moving to their own place in the city? Why am I not even contemplating renting that space once they move out in a place with a Walkscore of 87 and a transit score of 57? I’m mulling over the possibility of placing solar furnaces on my home and installing a solar hot water system which my on demand water heater could supplement, but not with any urgency. Vacationing this summer? My wife was looking at taking Amtrak to Burlington for a few days, but it’s so much easier and cheaper to drive! Ditto NYC. We’ll drive as far as Croton Falls and take the train in from there. Sure, no Europe trip THIS summer, but that has more to do with dealing with my mom’s estate than anything else.
So here I am, a climate change believer as it were with an aesthetic inclination toward “being green” and I’m not doing shit.
Au revoir, Paris.