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Post in 'The Green Room' started by dave_dj1, Mar 30, 2012.
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We ran a solar domestic hot water heating system for several years, but disassembled it a while back due to renovations.
(I'm a conservationist, not an environmentalist. I conserve God's creation, but I don't worship it. Too much of the green movement makes a religion out of environmentalism.)
While its great that so many here are doing their part, I find it fascinating the number of folks who feel the need to disavow any 'green' motivation, instead appealing to the more palatable 'frugality'. In 2012, being green is about new technology and business opportunities and money, ROI and NPV, not about wearing a tie-died shirt and professing your love for Gaia. Our young people are taking classes in green tech and making careers of it, not skipping class and having sit-ins on Earth Day.
So I guess our motto is 'love the CFLs, hate the hippies'?
Ignore the media and its fascination with scandals and dippy folks on the fringe....break out your spreadsheets, figure our some ROIs for different ways of meeting your needs (and wants), and then help someone else figure it out.
Bottom line is that green tech did not drop from the sky, nor is it a product of pure capitalism....we got it after decades of good public policy: govt sponsored research, as well as tax breaks and regulatory incentives for the big businesses that did the heavy lifting. Dick Nixon did as much to create the green movement when he formed the EPA as all those hippies he hated. And the young people I meet don't care about Nixon or hippies...green is in their DNA now.
Disclaimer: I am wearing a tie-die shirt right now.
BrianK, Have you read this? If so what was the premise and was it a good read?
I think too many people get hung up on being associated with a movement based on who's involved.
Whether you call it "green" "conservatism" "ecology" "environmental" or whatever, its just working towards created a sustainable society where we don't trash our only home to the point where future generations of humans can enjoy it as we did.
We can try to save "nature" or "gaia" or whatever all we want but it will survive long after humans have killed themselves off.
Hopefully we're getting smart enough to realize that when we try to preserve ecosystems, species, whales, bees, mountains or whatever, its all ultimately in the best interest of humans....no matter what you label it.
I have not yet read the book but I've read articles by and about the same author, and other books on the same subject. There is a growing body of evidence that the biggest problem facing us is not overpopulation but a looming population crash due to below replacement birth rates not only in the first world but also soon in most third world countries. It is a basic premise of "orthodox" economists that it is impossible to have a growing economy in the absence of a growing population base. A consumer economy is based on consumers. No new consumers being born into an economy = economic stagnation, recession or depression.
By 2050 world population will likely start collapsing because by current trends at that point all nations in the world will be at below replacement level fertility and the increases in life expectancy due to modern medicine and hygiene and farming techniques will have maxed out.
Mankind has never experienced global population decline so no one knows what will happen socially or economically. At a minimum we'll probably have several decades of economic depression as supply outstrips demand and the global economy adjusts.
This goes way too far into "politics and religion" for a forum such as this one. If you'd like to discuss it further offline I'd be happy to do so.
I'll look it up as this argument seems to run counter to conventional understanding (which I"m necessarily a fan of).
This subject always makes me wonder why "growth" (as in a growing economy) seems always to be perceived as a good thing.
Stasis may be highly underrated.
Ha - I have always wondered who gets to decide what is "just right". This goes for temps, population, taxes, etc.
But....back on track. I still pee outside.
As do I.
“The answer to anyone who talks about the surplus population is to ask him, whether he is part of the surplus population; or if not, how he knows he is not.” 
~~G. K. Chesterton
Some folks will lose as the population declines. Real estate agents come to mind. You can definately grow an economy with a decreasing population if you have gains in efficiency and production. One person on an excavator can do the digging of 100 hungry shovels. A decrease in consumption is not the end of the world. Perpetual inflation is not progress.
Here's a collection of links to books on the subject: The greatest threat facing mankind is...
Don't cross the streams!
Stasis defined was the Great Depression. I've talked to too many who lived through the Great Depression to believe stasis is highly underrated.
I avoid the "Green" label simple due to the baggage of being associated to so many foolish folks who buy every little product with a "green" logo on it thinking they are saving the planet. Mindless consumers of a trend to try and buy their way into a movement or out of some perceived guilt.
I don't have a firm opinion on man's role in global climate change - I've read some summaries of studies etc, and so much evidence exists to support various causes. My conclusion on this front is that it really doesn't matter much to me as I don't need the threat of some disaster to realize that waste is bad or conservation is good. There are tangible benefits even if there isn't a human role in global warming if we can utilize renewable energy sources so why not do it anyway? I'm not going to go run off and buy "carbon offset credits" when I fly though - that just doesn't make any sense to me and no matter how I look at it is seems like a waste of my resources that could be better spent elsewhere. If I feel bad about the CO2 released on my flight, perhaps I could spend the money on insulating my home better or something, but to pay some agency to plant a tree somewhere? I could plant trees here... likely with less overhead, bah.
I have four kids, but they are small so they don't eat much Seriously though - we are raising them to be reasonable people. They turn off lights, minimize waste, etc. Our overall energy use based on stats I could find on google is considerably less than the average, and we generate less waste (trash) than the average I believe based on what I see on the curb for pickup each trash day... So although we have a large family, I'm not sure we are making a significantly larger impact than the average _American_ family. Of course that is quite a biased standard to hold eh? Somehow I doubt we'd compare as well on a global standard, but again - we aren't hermits and I suppose we do have to contribute to the 'consumer' economy in some way.
I believe in continuous improvement and that every little bit helps. Thus I read this forum (and others) when I have time. I really appreciate the sharing of ideas and I take them as suggestions at times.
Practical ideas I may well try out - right now I'm trying to figure out how to grow some tomatoes in the house during the winter as my family has quite the appetite for them... not sure how the economics of grow lights will work out. Not all the ideas are so practical once evaluated though eh?
Hah BTuser. I've noticed your posts have become much more "animated" since you changed your avatar to "Brain".
I don't think many would classify the Great Depression as "stasis". That was a severe decline.
That's a valid point. On the other hand, Japan's economic malaise is directly related to their demographics. This is also, or will be soon, true of Greece, Italy, and numerous other Asian and European nations.
Given current demographic trends, the "low" fertility assumption is by far the most likely, and even it may be too high.
By the way, since I'm in the medical field, "stasis" always has a negative connotation for me. "Venous stasis," "stasis dermatitis," "stasis ulcer," "gastrointestinal stasis," etc.
Spain is the global leader in green energy policy, industry and infrastructure. Its working out just swell for them.
See also The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience
^^^ Don't really care for the european model of green development....having more solar panels in cloudy Germany than sunny SoCal makes no sense to me...and the UK seems to have a big energy crunch coming down the pipe. I am more a fan of things like EPA pollution regulations, which have made us all more healthy, CAFE standards which have saved us all $$ individually and as a nation, the cumulative effects of EnergyStar in basic appliance innovations, and the EPA getting us all more efficient woodstoves. I think all of the above programs could be improved/expanded, but hey, our system requires some compromise with folks who disagree.
Whether you believe in green jobs or not (not to mention whether the govt can 'create' them), the fortune 500 know that they can make more money with more efficient processes and infrastructure, esp with the current expensive oil environment. Our schools are teaching green to our young engineers across disciplines, and the 500 are hiring them.
I've done most of the things others have mentioned...drive a small car, live in a smaller house that's many years old (extreme recycling?) and has been improved (by me) as far as air sealing, insulation, windows and doors, electrical and plumbing systems and many other things, used as much locally harvested lumber for as many of my projects as possible and did them mostly myself including our cherry kitchen cabinets, cut my own firewood for many years, built a solar air heater, installed a gshp, cfl and led lighting, turn things off, recycle and compost, buy locally produced wind power for all our electricity, and pay property taxes on our woodlot, which offsets enough carbon to offset ours and probably at least one or two more families, and like to ride a bike the hilly 25 mile round trip to work most days.
Call me "green" if you want, but I'm basically a cheap s.o.b. that enjoys the outdoors and loves the woods and open spaces where I live, and want to do all I can to keep it that way.
As far as the number of kids go...I do agree that the world is getting way too many humans in it. However, if kid #7 of someone's family grows up and changes the world for the better, I'm not going to get up on a soap box and tell them they had too many kids
Careful. Soap can be slippery.
Misleading. Japan's economic malaise is directly related to government debt. Debt piled up by unfettered government spending. I personally have worked with government agencies while in Japan. The country is the definition of bureaucratic over reaching. I personally know young Japanese college graduates that now work in the part time job sector because of lack of job prospects. I personally have had a young visitor within the past year from Japan that asked me for help and advice regarding getting a permanent position in Japan. I personally have met with and discussed the debt crisis in Japan with a political counterpart in Japan within the past ten years. Anybody believing demographics is the cause of Japan's economic malaise seriously needs to educate themselves.
Part of the decline in birth rates in Japan may be traced to individuals that can not afford to marry and start a family. Part to married people unsure of prospects for children. Part to women that do not want to get married and start families. Lack of jobs and future prospects are a product of irresponsible government spending in Japan.
I agree. You can't blame Japan's economic supposed woes on the birth rate, and as you point it could be an effect rather than a cause. You can still grow an economy as long as the younger generation is more productive AND HAS THE BUYING POWER FOR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES!!. Their unwillingness to cut their losses after their credit bubble ran straight into the rise of China, India and every other country where labor was cheaper. As far as the lack of jobs, blame the robots they make. I don't see how their debt can be seen as the problem. If anything they can't print fast enough as a strong yen makes it harder to export. Do they have a hard time selling debt?
Japan is one of the least wasteful cultures I can think of. They do a lot with a little.
On the contrary, the effects of Japan's post WWII fertility collapse have been studied and acknowledged for 40 years now. Start here:
Economics of postwar fertility in Japan: Differentials and trends