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who is to blame for climate change

 
author and steward
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I just wanted to make a thread for this so that people have the opportunity to say their bit.



*I* think it is 100% us.  The individuals.  

We vote for the politicians.

We give money to the industries.

Sure, we are lied to.  And then we find out that we were lied to and we keep on feeding the liars.

Fallacy is rewarded.  Sleaze is rewarded.

Of course, I am powerfully biased, because I wrote a book:



https://permies.com/bwb

 
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An individual can only do so much.  If you  cut your carbon footprint to zero from birth to death that would have about the same effect as stopping all oil production for one second every 120years.  The only way to have meaningful change is to have large numbers of people make large changes.  That requires changes in law.
 
paul wheaton
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My position is very different from your position.

I like the idea that 100 million make their lives more luxuriant and it happens to have a side effect of solving climate change.

I also think that "the bad guys" feel strongly that we should all keep giving our money to them.  And if we don't like it, we can send letters insisting on change.  They very much like the idea to have all the money, and all the letters get "processed" on a rigged playing field.  

I do think that if enough people learn how to play on the rigged playing field, there is some small change - but it might get displaced by even worse stuff.  

At the same time, if 100 million people take their money away from the bad guys, all that wicked sorta dries up and blows away.

 
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One day I sat down and tried to figure out who is to blame... after an hour, I decided it didn't matter.

I can't do anything about the stupidity of other people - even if I could figure out who was the source of the problem.

But I can take action in my own life.

And maybe, just maybe, by sharing my adventures, it might inspire others to try things too.

Things like sharing on permies where people here are already open to new ideas: https://permies.com/t/68883/permaculture/keyhole-garden-summer-drought

Or writing a book: https://permies.com/t/flaxtolinen

and maybe they will be inspired to do a thing and share that thing, and more people and... suddenly there's no problem left worry about who to blame.







Maybe I'm just weird this way, but it feels like focusing on who to blame takes time and energy away from doing stuff that actually fixes the problem.  It's almost like finding who to blame is designed to distract us from the real issues - what to do about it.  
 
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I work with kids and teens. And a lot of them are really depressed about the state of the world and climate. And apparently some of their teachers focus on how everything is bad. I honestly don't think it helps to think about how bad everything is if we don't think about how we can fix it. Because, things will never get better if we don't try. The world is definitely doomed if we just all give up.

And, maybe things are on their last legs. Maybe the world is like an elderly person. But, I've often heard it said that when an elderly person gives up, when they stop trying to walk and do things, that that really shortens their life expectancy. But, they could have many more years left--and likely more enjoyable years--if they kept trying and walking and doing. I think the same applies to our world. If we give up, if we stop trying to make it better, if we stop trying to have a good world, our end will be near.

I feel like my job it to teach skills, to teach hope, to work at helping make the world a better place and help kids know that they can change things. I haven't written any books, and I probably never will. But, I teach kids historical skills so that they can know that they can make things. I want them to know that they have the power to have an impact, and also help them know skills to make things that are fun and also low-impact.

There's a huge power in learning skills like in the SKIP program.Not only are you empowered by the knowledge of how to do things but you're also empowered because you realize you can do things that make your life better.
 
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Are we point fingers in here?

I want to point my finger!

Hey guys, look! I'm pointing my finger REALLY HARD.

Man, I feel better now. What was I doing?

Okay, but for real. I have my gripes with certain groups who commit and have committed their (more than) share of things that have effected the climate but that doesn't do anything but give them my emotional and psychological energy and leaves me exhausted. I feel that we, we being people overall, suffer from the bystander effect.

A large group of people all are standing together at a fair, somebody falls and breaks there leg yelling out in pain, but everyone stares and doesn't act. Maybe even worse, they might just start popping pictures and videos on their phone. NOBODY ACTS TO HELP FIX THE SITUATION

"Well I can't fix her leg."

Maybe just being there holding her hand and telling her it will be all right might start the healing process.

Maybe calling an ambulance so the professionals can react just that much more faster would help.

Small acts lead to progress. We don't need to have the solution but we can work towards the goal. Each and every one of us.
 
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I'll go with Late Stage Capitalism and overpopulation, which encompasses all three in Pauls' chart.
 
J Hillman
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paul wheaton wrote:My position is very different from your position.

I like the idea that 100 million make their lives more luxuriant and it happens to have a side effect of solving climate change.

I also think that "the bad guys" feel strongly that we should all keep giving our money to them.  And if we don't like it, we can send letters insisting on change.  They very much like the idea to have all the money, and all the letters get "processed" on a rigged playing field.  

I do think that if enough people learn how to play on the rigged playing field, there is some small change - but it might get displaced by even worse stuff.  

At the same time, if 100 million people take their money away from the bad guys, all that wicked sorta dries up and blows away.


How much more could that 100 million people do if laws were changed as well?
Here are some examples from my life.

I need a truck, I would love a small, bare bones truck that gets kind of  good MPG's.  But because of existing laws vehicle manufactures find it more profitable and easier to build expensive monster trucks that get 14 mpg and cost $60,000.  So my options are to buy a big, low mpg truck on the second hand market because that is all that is available.

I was planning to build a small efficient house and was looking at land near where I live.  It turns out the house I want to build was illegal because it wasn't large enough.  The county would rather I build a million dollar home that consumes lots of resources,energy and money they can get lots of taxes off of than a tiny efficient house that they tax at $200 a year.

In many places it is illegal to put a wood stove in a house.  How much does that stop the spread of the rocket mass heater?

How many cities have zoning that requires people to have vehicles because zoning doesn't allow them to work or shop near their home?

I am sure there are many laws that prevent people from making choices they would prefer to and would also be better for the environment.  Our entire way of life for the last 100+ years has been built around cheap fossil fuels and it will take more than just individual choices to change that.
 
paul wheaton
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J Hillman wrote:But ...



https://permies.com/t/6148


 
paul wheaton
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how much more could that 100 million people do if laws were changed as well?



I suppose a person could dedicate 40 years of their life to getting laws changed.  And maybe a million people could dedicate 40 years of their life to getting laws changed.  I wonder if that is actually happening right now.  

So maybe we have two groups:

one million work 40 hours a week for 40 years on changing laws

one million work 40 hours a week on growing gardens, natural building, permaculture and stuff like that


At the end of the 40 years, which group made a bigger dent in the problem?  My money is on the second group.  Plus, I think being in the second group is just more enjoyable.
 
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Things have been clearly headed this way since the seventies (earlier really, but talked about in the seventies)..we knew and it was all talk and ineffective bullshit on a government level..we knew it was coming yet many would only make changes if their political party supported that...we knew and as a country didn't care.
Yeah, I'm still kinda angry at the 'bad guys'.

A good friend, who is walking the walk, goes on rants saying 'our house is on fire and nobody cares' and I send him to permies for some uplifting reading.

This forum is building momentum and encouragement and support for an ever increasing number of individuals who are heading in a wonderful earth saving direction.
Individuals have always made the big changes...have never stopped.
 
paul wheaton
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"I refuse to learn about rocket mass heaters because of the economy!"

"I refuse to learn about rocket mass heaters because of the government!"

"I refuse to learn about rocket mass heaters because of corporate greed!"

"I refuse to learn about rocket mass heaters because of the rich fuckers!"

A rocket mass heater adds glorious luxuriance to your life while simultaneously saving you thousands of dollars and cutting a huge slice off of your carbon footprint.

 
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Judith Browning wrote:
This forum is building momentum and encouragement and support for an ever increasing number of individuals who are heading in a wonderful earth saving direction.
Individuals have always made the big changes...have never stopped.



I also never know who might see what I'm doing and decide that they can do it too. Might be my kid, might be the lady in the grocery store who remembers that she's got her reusable bags in the car. Might be the person I talk to as they work in their garden and offer to bring them some rabbit poo fertilizer to see how good it works compared to what they're using now. We're contagious.

And while I might feel like just a drop in the bucket-- the bucket is made up of drops. The ocean is made up of drops.

 
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I am to blame for climate change.

In counseling sessions I would close by asking the individual to identify one thing they would do that day to improve their situation.  It must be an achievable, immediate, relevant goal.  

I ask myself the same thing every morning.  I find that my homestead provides numerous opportunities to do things today that are beneficial to the environment.

I still support some organizations that seek our change through political change but  with considerable research.  My first question is, “What is the salary and benefit package for the CEO?”  Normally my questions stop there.  While there are many correct answers, most often I get some brand of, “I don’t know.”  
 
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I could play the blame game...

But I could go and prune the shrubs under the yellow plum tree and then drop the bits under the purple plum tree that's 15 feet away but needs the organic matter more.

Big decision.... the plum trees win - bye guys!
 
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'Why???' And the ever popular 'Why me?!?' when things go wrong are such a bizarre concept to me, unless the answer leads me to a cause that I can do something about - now. For example, if I slice my hand open, then ask 'why', the answer is 'because I was a dumbass, and caught a falling knife', then I know I can fix that problem by not catching falling knives, anymore. I like DOING something to fix what's broken. If you're (general you, here) just going to whine 'why???' about it, and not take action, do it somewhere else, and get out of my way, while I FIX it. Better yet, go away, if you're just going to whine, because I'd rather listen to nature &/or some great music, while I'm fixin' stuff.

I do care about who is to blame, because that's how I know where to cast my vote - and where not to. I vote all the time: sometimes with a ballot, but much more often with my money. In fact, one of the reasons our limited, fixed income is limited, is because we don't allow our investment manager to place any of our funds with several major corporations, whose practices we don't agree with. There are even more companies, whose doors I'll not darken, because of their practices.

John has a great pov on pointing your finger, to blame;" When you point your 1 finger at someone else, you're pointing 3 more fingers at yourself."

I have livestock to lock in, for the night - I'm sure someone will watch more than enough nasty news and horrible product commercials to make up for me not watching it. I'm too busy doing something to make life better.
 
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I'm in the club of trying to focus on other stuff than blaming and giving out less and less of my moneys to the bad guys - althought I do think that there is some point in being vocal in the public about the things that are just wrong.. It can wake up people who still have no idea about any of it.

But the solutions - there are many! Like planting trees.

Paul's new video is about different things to do to lower your carbon footprint. I like the soothing feeling that video has. Not at all doomy or blamey!




 
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Who is to blame for climate change? Humanity as a whole. Because we've gotten too big for our 'britches.' Without technology, we weren't able to have as profound an effect on the planet as we do now. So it might not be "me" and it might not be "you" but it is all of us, because we're all caught in the web of waste and overuse.

That said, population isn't the problem. The Malthusian fallacy has pretty much been put to rest. The West is already going into a demographic winter.  The world population is projected to peak at between 9 to 11 billion people. The problem isn't numbers. The problem is when (as we do in the West, at least) we consume between 20-25 percent of the planet's non-renewable resources. We're less than 5 percent of the world's population. There's the rub.

And the technology that got us into this pickle won't get us out of it. Like it or not, we are going into a lower-energy future. Lower in terms of non-renewable sources, that is.

Everything converts from energy to mass, and mass to energy. We're on the correct trajectory here to go luxuriously into this lower-energy future. Because RMH. Because of intensive gardening techniques (and the fact that everyone will be gardening!). Because of the biophilia effect once people like me start getting dirt under their fingernails again. Because of people like you, Paul, who are set on world domination.

John Senior said it best, I think, "The only way out of the current crisis in inflation, energy, and all the rest is to simplify, as Thoreau said. Willy-nilly, whether as freemen or as slaves, we shall have to return to poverty."

But poverty isn't destitution.

Senior said elsewhere, "There is such a thing as human nature. And therefore, there is an objective and determinable human scale and pace. There is, in short, an optimum environment for the growth of the human species. Beneath that optimum there is a condition of destitution into which rampant industrialism is thrusting three-quarters of the human race, where, desperate for food and shelter, the miserable human animal grovels in the dirt before the first tyrant he thinks will feed him; and there is an opposite extreme condition of slothful opulence where something lower than the animals grovels before himself, sliding in his own fat toward a bestiality unknown to honest pigs and goats. Rising like a mountain range between these twin abysses of despair is the golden mean of ordinary life.”

That "ordinary life" is what he also calls poverty, as in Chaucer's "glad povertye."

Poor, not because we don't have all that we want, but because we want all that we have and need no more.

j
 
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Wildly unpopular opinion here possibly.  The earth is alive and it is going through changes just like you and I.  Why do people believe the earth will maintain the same climates forever?  Does anything stay the same forever?  Nothing does and all living things evolve.  It's man's ego that causes every issue on earth.  We are the one's who poison it it's true, but the earth is far more intelligent than you just as you are far more intelligent than any cell or bacteria living in your organism.  Sure one of those can make you sick but you are far more powerful than one cell or a bacteria if you remember who you really are.  It's also our ego that believes we know what the earth needs.  So called environmentalists want to filter out sunlight to curb global warming.  Think about that.  Connecting with the earth begins to show you what it needs.  Does earth need us to protect it from waste or poisons?  No not at all.  The earth is all about waste, but that waste is part of a cyclical system and the only thing we need to consider is the volume of waste and the processing abilities of the airs or soils.  Toxins and poisons are naturally filtered by the earths soils, airs and waters as well.  Of course we should pay attention to our home organism, but we shouldn't delude ourselves that this planet will not change, it indeed will and we will change with it.

Protecting the environment is going to become a larger theme in the coming years, but you must remember the truth, this is going to be used to manipulate humanity the wrong direction.
 
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Does it matter who is to blame?  Are we even worrying about the right problems?  If you ask teens what they are afraid of and take their top 10 answers there isn't a one of those in the top 100 risks to teens.  One survey I went by there wasn't anything in the top just over 400 to the first thing teens feared and the next one was nearly to 500.  And as adults we are almost as bad.  Very few of our top 10 will be in the top 100 and many of our top 100 fears will just barely be in the top 1000 risks.  Lets take flying for example.  Something like 40% of adults are afraid to fly.  Yet basically any way you look at it, it is the safest way to travel.  Whether you measure per mile or per hour it is by far the safest way to travel.  Walking down the sidewalk is far more dangerous per mile or per hour than flying.

Worse yet there are so many playing politics with those fears and amplifying them for money or political gain.  One of the ways I figure they don't actually care about the problem is if they are against most of the best solutions to the problem.  Another way is if they have a bunch of "solutions" that have almost no application to the problem but are aimed at some other goal instead.  

How to we solve this?  Truly both looking at and teaching relative risk at all levels is probably key here.  It is vital we show the kids solutions and their risks.

Yet we have most of the answers we need to solve the problems if we will choose to use those answers rather than ignoring them.  Part of that is we have to beat the anger because of things done wrong in the past.  I have a friend who is so mad about political mistakes made in the 40's thru the 90's that he won't even talk about those ignored solutions now.

Then we need to look at human nature.  We like comfort, we tend to be lazy in things that don't interest us, we don't like the discomfort that comes with learning new things, we are selfish, we are greedy and we are jealous and want to keep up with the "Jones"es.  Until any answer takes those into account we won't make the progress needed.  We have a whole world out there that wants to come and join us at our life style level.  And if we block them from reaching for it, we are basically evil people and guilty of worse than slavery.  Also we need to remember that anyone who is just at survival levels is fighting to live and won't make changes to help until they reach certain minimum levels.  Science proves that one.  So raising them to at least those minimum levels becomes critical(ideally as quickly as possible).  And right here at home we want out comfort and don't want to suffer.  So any answer has to take those facts and behaviors into account if we want real change.

Mike Bettis makes a good point above in that things are going to change.  And my brother more than a decade ago made a good point in saying what will have the greater cost and suffering?  Preventing the change or taking the actions to deal with change and letting it happen?

Another key point looking specifically at Permies is to ask how to change the message so it is truly heard by the general population?  One of my favorite food for thought ones there is the personality test results.  Of everyone who posted on that link something like over 70%(might have been over 80%, would have to go find it again) of us are in one of the couple of  rarer personality types represented by less than 10% of the general population.  Simply put most of us don't think the same.  So how do we change our message to match what general population needs to hear?

Finally we need to get smarter about how we try.  In many cases are we subsidizing the right solutions?  For example which will have the greatest long term gain.  Insulating a house with a 50 to 100 year life expectancy or putting solar cells on with a 25 year life expectancy.  Say the solar cells pay off without subsidy in 15 years and the insulation pays off in 20.  Since energy usage of that home more than 50% is typically devoted to heating and cooling.  Are we better off putting enough solar cells on that home or insulating it?  Most likely the long term ROI is going to say insulation.   Now encouraging solar panel production and ramping it up quickly may out weigh this in the short term so you can have that production over the long term?  I don't have the answers here but my guess is we would be better off subsidizing insulation and better windows for most of it.  My reasoning is even if the ROI on both is the same directly if we can free up a bunch of household energy then we free up grid capacity for energy for cars etc.  One other spending thing is that Jordan Peterson makes a really good point in one of  his videos that research expenditures almost always have a better ROI.  That we should be taking say 10% of what we are spending on subsidies and spend it on research instead.

Personally I am pushing solar thermal because it is something even the poor can implement.   But all options should be included in the thinking

I see the value in RMH thinking and have pushed it too because it is also an answer the poor can implement.  I still have one serious question about it though and that is what is it doing on the sub 2.5 micron particle pollution level?  Guessing it isn't good based on moles non burnable minerals that should be left as weight of ash.  Neat thing though is even if it is a problem we can implement a simple and cheap technological answer and almost certainly solve it.  A simple need type ionization filter reaching down from the top of the burn tunnel near the end with a pit to catch ash below it would solve it easily.   Power the needles while stove is running.  When it is no longer running cycle the voltage to the needles thru positive, negative and off several times slowly and let the ash fall in catch pit.  Then turn if off till the next time.  The batch cycle nature of an RMH make it ideal for this.

 
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