Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama gets it on sustainability...partly

From today:

"The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, "I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."

The point made at the end of Greasy Rider is that the greatest change will come from collective efforts, not necessarily from individual ones.

From the book:
"So what can we do? More important than driving a veggie car or screwing in a few compact fluorescent bulbs is to kick the country's collective butt in the right direction...Change toward a sustainable, secure future will only come through a nationwide effort--and the resources are already at our disposal."

Consider that two-thirds of our electricity comes from coal-fired power plants. Or that we produce 25 percent of the world's carbon emissions. We need Big Picture solutions to solve these problems on a mass scale. He's right on this part. Not to get too preachy, but what he doesn't get is that we do have to begin making small sacrifices in our daily lives. Reducing our waste, water consumption, gas consumption, and energy consumption are all vital, though miniscule, components for leading us to greater sustainability--and curbing global warming. We can't keep living the same supersized lives that we have for the past two decades.