A lot of people are talking about improved energy efficiency as a means of solving the climate crisis, which is great. But I am not convinced that technology will bring us quite enough increased efficiency to make the required reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
I think, too, that the climate crisis—not to mention the planet’s numerous other environmental problems—calls for us to use less. Use less power, use less oil, use less stuff.
As I write, it’s dark out. There is one100-watt equivalent, solar-powered LED light on in the living room of our apartment. There are no other lights. When we want to read in bed, we’ll move the light in there. There’s a beeswax candle in the bathroom for tooth brushing.
No TV is blaring. No video game is bleeping. No air conditioner is humming. Last month, we got a nearly $400 rebate from the electric company—they finally got around to reading our meter after sending us estimated bills for a few months.
We have radically reduced our resource use over the last
year. It’s not so bad at all. In fact, as I've written, in some ways it's better.
I’m not saying that the whole United States should live like our No Impact household. What I am saying is that, if my little family can be relatively comfortable using so much less, then it really is possible for our culture to be comfortable and happy making the more modest reductions that may well be required, in addition to improvements in technology, to help our sickened planet.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.