Friday, December 7, 2007

Future Fuels and Personal Standards.

Now in true virtue of combining blogs, the corresponding sustainable living discussions.

I know there are millions of statistics running around about all the stuff we have to do and the dangers of not, and the results, and costs.

I'm not going there today. I wanna talk about practices and philosophies and attitudes, not statistics and costs.

I was wandering through Lowe's the other day with my friend. We happened upon one of his friends (or acquaintances, not sure) while we were perusing through the CFLs and she was looking for light bulbs as well, and my friend suggested a CFL. She went on to explain that she was such a conservative that she just wanted to drive the biggest vehicle she could find, go home string up a million Christmas lights, turn the heat all the way up, and open all the doors and windows and watch her 8 foot wide plasma tv. Of course I'm exaggerating a bit, and I hope she was kidding because she really was looking at the CFLs, but it was the attitude that she had that really made me think. And thinking is what will solve the problem, not global warming, but of limited energy supplies. I've said it before, Arkansas has one wind turbine but is 27th in the nation for wind resources. We're surrounded by coal and natural gas power plants, and there's a nuke just down the highway. We do have a number of hydroelectric dams, but they are of limited elevation drop and therefore limited power. Their primary function is as sources for various water needs. The only solar panels I have seen lately are the ones that power the emergency roadside signs. The thing is, you can't burn coal or NG again, but the rain will bring us water again, and the winds will come again, and the sun will shine again.

So, how do we change things so that we can sustainably support ourselves as a culture? Some have said that we cannot support our current standard of living. That may be so. So, we change our standard of living. Standards are made to become more strict, a standard is a minimum requirement, and as time goes on, standards become more stringent. Examples: gas mileage, home insulation, safety belts, child car seats, wiring, plumbing, internet speeds, video quality (HDTV), bullet proof vests, helmets, airbags, buildings and structures, pollution restrictions, lead based paint, asbestos, fire retardants, CFCs, water quality, flammable Halloween costumes, fire suits for race car drivers, computer speeds, fuel quality, and bridge construction, need I go on? Our standard of living must not drop, because standards do not drop, our standards must be raised, but not in a way that we live more opulently, and more wastefully. Our standards must include those that are more efficient, they must include changing or altering our sources of energy, food, and leisure, and most of all, we must change our rate of consumption.

Consumption, what did Jesus think? Jesus was, more than most else, interested in how the poor were cared for. He railed against the wealthy religious leaders, said things like "It is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven," and picked his disciples from among the working class. There is so much I could say, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

So, what did I say here? (Pauses to actually read what he wrote.)

Well let me say what I meant in the above paragraph. I am not saying that you cannot be rich. I say do it at your own risk, but the wealthy are in a position to do more than many of us can, both to make their lives more efficient, but also to help the rest of us by for instance helping the car companies decide to make more efficient cars, because though I'd like to, I cannot afford to build my own car right now.

Ok, the real conclusion. Raise your standard of living. Grow your own organic food. Insulate your house so it stays really warm in the winter and really cool in the summer without using any outside power. Raise your standards, don't go the cheap (actually more expensive {costly} in the long run) way, don't do what everyone else is doing (some of you reading this will not be in Arkansas and will be in a more environmentally conscious area, and for you, do some of what everyone else is doing)

Live the way you were meant to.

*Would I say God is on my side?
I might think it, but I won't say it, hopefully I'm on God's side.

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