Saturday, April 11, 2009

Choices

As we contemplate the real world of finite resources, it's important to consider the opportunity costs of decisions we make each and every day.

In R. Crumbs Epilogue to "A Short History of America," we see three possible outcomes: environmental collapse, the technocratic imaginarium and the ecotopian solution.

There is insufficient energy and "natural resources" to achieve and sustain the Technocratic Imaginarium, leading inevitably to environmental collapse, pitiful metal hulks in the streets, crumbling facades, sturdy plants growing through the pavement. While this vision strikes horror into the hearts and minds of most humans, the birds and flowers smile at the prospect.

The Ecotopian Solution, however, makes room for humans among the birds and flowers, as one of them, not as rulers over them.

The decisions we make every day will determine the outcome. If we invest today in the Technocratic Imaginarium, we set our course irresolutely toward environmental collapse. The opportunity cost of the Technocratic Imaginarium is a sustainable future for the human species.

Which will it be, my Pretties? PRT and the technocratic graveyard, or Mr. Natural and a thriving world for all life?

2 comments:

  1. A Transportation Enthusiast8:13 AM

    That's a nice idealistic solution to the mess we're in. Now trying to convince the other 6 billion people in the world to give up their lives and live with nature.

    There seem to be two different approaches to our current predicament: (1) those who say "we're on a path to destruction and there's no way out, so just wait for it to happen" and (2) those who acknowledge that our path is unsustainable, but who *search* for ways to avoid calamity.

    What, exactly, is wrong with (2)? If the most dire predictions are true and we're already on an irreversible path to destruction, then what harm could a few PRT networks do now? On the other hand, if there IS a way out of this mess, shouldn't we be doing everything within our power to find that solution?

    So in one case, PRT doesn't hurt, and in the other case, PRT could help by pushing us closer to sustainability. So why the hostility? Do you WANT the world to collapse?

    Even if PRT gives us only a 5% better chance at avoiding calamity, isn't it worth pursuing?

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  2. So-called "solutions" like PRT are not solutions that will enable humans to avoid calamity. Those types of things are little more than bandaids that are insufficient to repair the damage already done.

    But in the twelve years or so that I've been reading these types of posts from Hayduke, as well as the writings of Edward Abbey and others, no one has said "throw all technology out the window." Or, "technology brings nothing to the table." No one has said that.

    To be critical of specific types of technology doesn't imply you're being critical of all.

    I believe the point here is developing and implementing technologies in a sustainable framework. Point of use wind, more cycling and less driving.

    Just look at hydrogen fuel cells and what a farce that is. Even these new compact fluorescent light bulbs, contain mercury and must be disposed of at specific recycling centers. Most folks are not going to dispose of the properly and even if they do, they're going to drive their cars to the center! Just turn the f-ing lights off! That will save energy.

    As I said before, technology isn't going to solve a problem that technology helped create. Really all we need is a little common sense.

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