Andy Revkin over at the New York Times DotEarth puts his fingers on the important climate questions related to the new presidency:
Meanwhile, over at The Breakthrough Institute's blog, Adam Zemel writes:
The question that comes to my mind is whether the obstacles are just too great to make the current way of American life sustainable. That is to say, can the over-air-conditioned homes, the two cars in every driveway, and the massive retail consumption actually be made to work in a way that doesn't destroy the habitat that we depend upon for our health happiness and security?
I've just returned from a jaunt to the Sundance Film Festival where the documentary about my No Impact Man project--the year in which my family and I lived as environmentally as possible--received two sustained standing ovations from audiences.
What was it that moved people? After all, what we present in the film is a way of life that, as my wife puts it, looked substantially looked like a prolonged camping trip in the middle of New York City.
Excellent film-making by director Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein aside, the inspiration seemed to come from the fact that the No Impact project, by questioning consumption as life's raison d'etre, took a stab at looking for what's important in life.
The fact of the standing ovations at our screenings, like the fact of the huge turnout at the Presidential inauguration, suggests that our society and culture may not be addressing this question of what's important in life correctly. People are dissatisfied, and not only because they can't find jobs.
Perhaps the way forward is not only to figure out how to power the current way of life. Perhaps we should--in addition to attempting to develop a renewable grid--also put a concerted effort into discovering whether there might, in fact, be a more satisfying, less resource intensive way of life--like we found in the No Impact project--that requires less energy in the first place.
Does this sound naive? I don't think so. Because a search for a better way of life that also saves our habitat can engender more public support than a geeky-sounding thing like a renewable energy grid ever would. And why? Because the search for a better way of life contains within it the one thing that powers every large political initiative: hope.
As the marketing genius Seth Godin recently said on his blog:
The magical thing about selling hope is that it makes everything else work better, every day get better, every project work better, every relationship feel better. If you can actually deliver on the hope you sell, there will be a line out the door.
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.