Saturday, September 17, 2011

Focus on Solutions

It seems to me that economy and resources are almost walking hand in hand. I found this video on this Swedish blog called "reflecting over growth". The video is a summary of Richard Heinberg's book "End of Growth". I haven't read it yet but it seems to be quite interesting.

Somehow I think we are all tired of hearing the apocalypse message on how our energy sources are running out and the economy is going down and, unfortunately, they don't focus that much on the solution part in the video.
They do talk about "local economies" though: remember that if you buy local there is no need for shipping and transporting long distances - saving energy costs and impact. Also buying local means you contribute to your community. However, defining local is also a bit tricky - is local your town or is it your whole country? Or does it depend on what you buy? (apples can be found in Finland but probably not lemons). Or perhaps growing what you can and need in your backgarden? Because, do I really need to buy lemons if living in Finland or should I eat another fruit more easily available?
Back to the video, I also think they also want to send a message that we should re-think our values, what is really important in life, and therefore consume less resources. I mean, do we need what we buy or do we buy what we need?

Regarding the crisis, not all responsibility can be on the consumers though. It is difficult enough for a consumer just going grocery shopping knowing what is the best choice. Especially as we are now, when we have a range of different options of the same product. Some consumers probably just buys the cheapest instead of using also other parameters to decide - local, ecological, etc. Additionally, some are just doing bad choices not only when buying, but other choices that also affect economy and use of resources. Because what consumers can do shouldn't either be looked down on: a car produces most emissions in use, a washing machine uses most energy when used. So, not only buying matters but also how we use our goods.

However, we're gonna need someone to take on the bigger decisions that will steer communities in the right direction. And unfortunately politicians, bankers and people with power seem to react too slow at the moment: instead if re-thinking economical models they are pumping-in money where there are already holes. This blogg explains the economic bubble very well.

Perhaps we are a step behind in the discussion: shouldn't we be talking even more about what can be done, on both topics - economy and resources - instead of the harm already done? Perhaps Heinberg's book goes more into that topic but the video is not too positive in general.

Surely, we're gonna have to cut on resources, but will we die from that? Not likely! But hopefully it will instead stimulate our creativity, that will hopefully stimulate our economy to a curve that is natural and in balance what we have, need and consume.

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