Sunday, September 23, 2007

A green Iceburg

I recently read Tillerman's blog 'Proper course', where he is considering the environmental impact of his sailing. What pertubed me was the first comment he recieved by somebody who wishes to remain annonomous. In escence the person seems to be of the opinion that 'global warming' is a myth.

Global warming is a fact. wether it is totally attributable to the 'greenhouse gases' (CO2) is another matter. Opinion is divided. There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that it is and there has to be a cause, if it isn't greenhouse gases then what is causing it?

However, no matter what the cause, polution in all its forms is ugly, it does damage the environment, kills off widl life and pollutes our food chain and I think we have a responsibility of care for the world we live in for our own sakes let alone the future inhabitants of planet earth.

Reducing pollution, planting trees and 'all that crap' can only improve the environment, wether it affects the earths atmosphere or not (and I think it must, even if only at a local level).

I have thought about this in relation to my sailing. I've worked out that I travel about 4000 miles each year in relation to my sailing. I very rarely trail the boat to events, I would like to but the reality is that I find the cost rather prohibative. Not only that but finding time to do it and the willingness of my family to accomodate my desire tends to limit what I can do. This, more than my concern for the environment, is the biggest reason why I have trailed no more than 100 miles from home and only two events. Given the freedom to do more I suspect that I might do so but I would be picky about the distance and the event. But this is just the tip of this 'green' iceburg.

I do not take foriegn holidays even though prices are really cheep, because I think it's a gross misuse of the planets resources; the cost of air travel is way to cheep and the real coat is hidden. But it's not just travel that we need to think about. I believe we need to think about consumption of earths resources in general, especially as developing countries like China and India become more hungry for the worlds resources. I have my doubts as to the worlds capacity to support such consumption.
In my opinion America is particularly extravagant and its people need to think more clearly about the future in this regard. Some are. Here in the UK we are almost as thoughtless in our use of natural resouces but at least our government is begining to wake up to the reality of pollution, if only the rest of the populace would.
My fear is that it's not going to make that much difference even if we reduced our CO2 output to zero, while countries like China are starting up coal burning Power satations every week. But why shouldn't they? afterall thier industry is supplying us with products we want.

In my home I have taken steps to reduce energy consuption which has reduced my bills, and now recycle far more than I did. I also think more about purchases. Too often stuff is purchased that is really unnecessary, all with its own packaging that either ends up in landfill or worse, drifting on the tide! I hate seeing this rubbish washed up on the coast, its not pleasent to sail through it either.
It makes sense to be careful with the planet, if for no better reason than to be able to continue to enjoy it. But I think the reasons for more conciderate living is probably more to do with sustainability. There is a real risk that the world economy will collapse if demand outstrips the planets ability to supply and sustain our extravagant way of life.

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