[Envlist] What happened next? 10:10

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at gn.apc.org
Tue Dec 28 00:14:25 GMT 2010

Hash: SHA1

On Monday 27 December 2010 20:27:01:


> Patrick Barkham vowed not to buy any new clothes in 2010. He looks at
> his and others' efforts to cut their carbon emissions this year

Sometimes, I read stuff like this, and I really think that stunts like this 
deserve the bureacratic perversity/karmic whiplash of Copenhagen, Cancun, etc. 
as a response. Carbon isn't the problem; nor is clothing; it's the attitude 
that 'mass' affluence is either normal (historically) or sustainable -- and 
consequently that as a result it's our whole way of living that's in question, 
not contestations over our limited options for change within that paradigm.

I go shopping about every-other year (OK, I admit it, I'm a bloke!); I've had 
my 'work clothes' (the bright "Elmer the Elephant' style shirts and shorts, if 
you've seen them) for five years and they're still OK. I'm sorry, but what does 
this achieve, apart from highlighting how much complete crap our nation 
aspires to consume? I've also only flown twice in my life (both for work, e.g. 
last time, http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/container_project/index.shtml ) -- so 
naturally I had empathy issues with the people at Heathrow complaining that 
they couldn't get away for another long-haul holiday this year.

> Until 10:10 came into existence, there was only hand-wringing about 
> carbon emissions and no real practical impetus to cut them. In less than
> 18 months, cutting carbon has become as routine an instinct as recycling,
> and 10:10 has spawned successful spin-off campaigns such as Lighter 
> Later, which champions the energy-saving benefits of shifting the clocks
> back by an hour.

I'm sorry, what's changed again, exactly? Copenhagen was a farce and Cancun 
was a holiday resort! At least Bolivia had the guts to stand-up at Cancun and 
say they it would agree to the 'suicide pact'.

Climate change will seriously hit most of the richest states last. It's 
already eating away at peripheral societies, especially in Africa and Asia. 
This has nothing do do with the "act of consumption" but rather how we view 
ourselves as "living beings". All the major world religions eschew affluence -- 
it's clear to see why. The flaw in the consumer society isn't consumption, it's 
that mass consumption isn't making affluent societies any more happier or secure 
{ http://www.fraw.org.uk/redirect.html?s1 }. Or, to amend John and Paul's oft 
used phrase, "money can't buy you love, but it can make it less a painful loss 
to bother about" (in short, people are hooked because they dare not face-up to 
the seemingly more painful consequences, and, unfortunately within this mind-
set, 'ignorance is bliss').

> We have collectively pledged to cut more than 750,000 tonnes of carbon. 
> Of course, politicians are not renowned for keeping their pledges. But
> have the rest of us kept ours?

750kte -- that's 0.013% of the 574.6Mte (assuming they're quoting carbon 
equivalent) that the UK released in 2009. I'm sorry, but precisely what is all 
this s'posed to be achieving again?

Until we can get a real evaluation of impacts and lifestyles, with things like 
intensive food production and modern technology at the top of the list, and 
less intense lifestyles { http://www.fraw.org.uk/redirect.html?o10 } and low 
impact settlements at the bottom, we're not going to make a realistic 
difference. If people want to make a real difference then ditch the consumer 
lifestyle fully, and go back to being more self-reliant and localised, because 
that's the only way they're going to begin to cut their own emissions by the 
levels necessary -- and that would be far more influential (although if Thom 
Yorke did that he'd probably get blown away like Lennon!).

If celebs want to flash their eco-cred. then, like 19th Century philanthropists 
(inc. collectively,  the  ragged trousered variety), they should work towards 
getting people access to the land, training and legal framework to establish 
the various truly low-impact alternatives to intensive/industrialised society. 
There's many people who'd jump at the chance of a lower impact lifestyle but 
are prevented from change by the prohibitive price of land, and the 
planning/regulatory system that's designed around energy/resource intensive 
patterns of development. People should, en masse, just get on and make the 
change --  and by facilitating that, creating spaces for people to live those 
lifestyles (much as the Chartists did in the 19th Century when they created 
small cottages and self-sufficient hamlets for people to live-out the 
sustainable alternative to industrialisation), the 'great and the good' who 
wanted to tackle the world's ills would make a far greater difference. Funding 
land purchase, preferable starting in some of the poorest state where their 
assets could make the greatest difference, they could give a fair few thousand 
people a far more meaningful change than being talked at by aching- conscience 
in hemp clothing (and would make a meaningful start on developing "adaptation" 
approaches to address the inevitable rise in temperature rather then 

The scale of what we're doing to our ecosystem, and the scale of the response 
required as a result, is beyond tokenism -- as I've outlined in some of my 
recent work:

10:10 are becoming apologists for the lack of real progress on solving the 
human ecological overshoot, not a force to highlight the flaws in current 
thinking and envision real alteratives (lifestyles that is, not brands!). Just 
like the fact that many small local changes add up to small global changes, 
individual tokenism results in no real change. Let's hope they sober up and 
feel the wind on their face, if only so they know where it's blowing!


- --


"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see http://www.fraw.org.uk/ebo/

Read my 'essay' weblog, "Ecolonomics", at:

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
email - mobbsey at gn.apc.org
website - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/index.shtml
public key - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/mobbsey-2011.asc

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