Consumption – Not Climate – Is the Problem

James Watkins | November 16, 2021

As I have stated in previous articles if we were truly sincere about fighting the “climate crisis,” the only real way of “winning” is to roll back the population to 1850 levels when earth had 2.1 billion people.

Short of this, the demand on raw materials is inversely proportional to the availability of laborers to work for a low enough price as to make goods and services inexpensive enough for people to buy them. But once there are more people, and more demand on goods and services, the whole notion of converting to renewables is ill fated because energy will price everything out of the market. Energy (i.e., fuel) is what makes things affordable.

If driving your car meant dropping $150 in your tank every week, you would drive less if you only make 1200 a month in take home. You would also eat less, you might even use less of your tech and cancel those music and video subscriptions that are costing you hundred of dollars a month, which has a direct impact on the producer of that content who now must pay their own people less. Simply making things more expensive through carbon taxes or other mandates (like tariffs or import fees) benefits no one.

But pause for a moment and look at the cargo crisis now occurring at the ports of San Pedro and Long Beach, California. Those cargo ships represent 1) labor, and 2) consumption. Someone made those things that are packed into the cargo ship containers, all 220 thousand of them that sit there, waiting to be shipped all points America until they get to the shelves and are eventually taken home by the people who will pay for them. 30-40% of its tonnage alone wasted in packaging. 

Our consumption is what is killing us, not the climate. The climate will do just fine. Most of earth is water, so land-heat will never be able to out-maneuver ocean absorption and respiration. This is why I am less concerned about global warming than I am about filling landfills and oceans being polluted.

If every human being dedicated themselves to consuming less energy, say 30% each day, we would go much farther towards cleaning our earth than shutting down coal mines and putting up wind farms. Until renewables can make up the 93% deficit in output, renewables is a pipe dream. It can never sustain the demand being put on it by people who are used to a certain standard of living. You cannot have the infrastructure you need for your iPhone and claim to be fighting climate change. Anyone who tells you we can simply convert to non-fossil fuels is lying to you. The math doesn’t work. But funding corrupts and so they tell you what makes you feel good about the war on climate change to keep the crowd engaged.

I will say it again. It is not feasible – without killing people with poverty and lack of available energy – to convert to renewables in 9 years or 27 years (2030 or 2050, whichever the current consensus is on when the world will end).

Consuming less is key.

The discussion needs to switch back to consumption. Consumption means less energy being used. If we can roll back our consumption, just in the little things like buying less, using less water, modify living habits to make better use driving, even eating less (which would be good for the national diet since obesity remains a huge problem in developed countries), this goes a long way in making the planet less toxic and polluted.

You simply cannot say you are fighting climate change at the same time say you are worried about CPI or GDP. The higher the GDP the more we are consuming. It’s just that simple. 

In 1987 at an environment conference at the University of California at Santa Barbara, climate change was not the issue. Back then everyone knew it was our consumption and waste that posed the greatest concern, as it should be even more so today. We could, if our consumption was lessened, use less fossil fuel – and isn’t that the goal?

While it might seem to certain policy advisors that renewables forces people to consume less, the opposite is true. It drives up the cost of energy and makes people poorer, which means the poor get hit the hardest and you have only exchanged one problem for another, which is how do you help the growing poverty class?

Putting up ten thousand windmills (which takes enormous raw material to build and maintain) doesn’t solve the climate crises. Stop being ignorant and naive.

Again, consumption is the issue that drives waste, pollution, trash, shitty water and smog. If there was a way to make it a patriotic or civic duty to see who could consume less each week this would be a turning point in our civilization. We would at once start to be better stewards of the earth. 

It is understandable that, after thousands of years of struggle, mankind would naturally be enamored with having so much stuff, but it is time for us to act like adults and face our global pollution and consumption issues squarely, and it starts in the home and with each of us individually, not with mandates and carbon penalties, but with pride of ownership, tending to one’s own garden.

It seems like a good place to start.

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