It has been awhile, but I read a couple of books by two different Journalists: Thomas Friedman, “Hot, Flat and Crowded” and Bill McKibben, “Eaarth”.
NOTE: These are not exact quotes, just what I remember.
Thomas Friedman says something to this effect: It would be great if we had smart grids with solar power and wind energy. And we had smart houses on those grids with smart appliances in those houses. Then, when you are doing laundry and you put your clothes in the dryer, it turns on when it senses there is free, clean energy, because the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.
Bill McKibben then responds with something like this: Well, if the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, why wouldn’t you hang your clothes out to dry?
While I recommend both books as excellent reads, Bill McKibben won the debate in my eyes. True “green” is to reduce first, whenever possible… change mindsets, change behaviors… then substitute with alternatives.
Green consumption is still consumption that comes with many tradeoffs and green technology still provides too much comfort, promoting a rise in obesity, urban sprawl and too much time spent managing, organizing, cleaning and paying for our green products.
Everyone’s lifestyle is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’, but small, continuous changes toward a reduction in consumption, by the mass population, will go much faster and farther than waiting for policy changes and technological advances.
Furthermore, reducing consumption and getting out of our comfort zone doesn’t mean that we are depriving ourselves. The terms “minimalism” and “simplicity” are on the rise because people are finding that simple living is the opposite of deprivation… it can drastically improve health, wealth and happiness.
Who wouldn’t want that?
Plus, when you consume less and consume mindfully, you can spend more money on quality products that are long lasting and that provide real value to your life and your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Now that is sustainable.
What are your thoughts? Who do you think won the debate?