A good (sustainable) life

CasaNegron

Active Member
Its 9:19pm AST as I begin to write this. I am completely aware of my hypocrisy. I am a product of the first world, writing on a laptop, connected to the internet, on a forum largely dedicated to international travel (to Ibiza). I am about to write about sustainability. As we are currently in a pandemic, a comment was raised in the Covid19 thread about the quality of healthcare in the USA. My response was that the government is "broke" and cannot afford the expense the reply was capitalist "greed" gets in the way. I do accept this at face value. We can provide basic food, shelter and healthcare to everyone. Its just not sustainable at our current standard of living.

On one level, the required financial resources do not make this economically feasible (under the current system). All major governments are in debt, and central governments have lowered rates to historical lows to accommodate stimulus to keep economies from stalling and allow governments to continue spending beyond their means. Some rates have even gone negative. This in itself is not sustainable, but I dont really want to discuss economics, as it can be a bit of a charade (until it isn't)... and its boring.

On a deeper level, I would like to discuss human development overall and our own lifestyle choices. I am one those 'peak oil' people that thinks that many of the financial migration and political crisis we have witnessed over the last couple decades are occurring in developed nations because we have reached our growth limits. Sometime in the last 20 years we hit a point where it costs more than a barrel of oil to extract a barrel out of the ground. I am not an environmentalist per-se however, I do think we are headed toward a sustainable future, but it will not be voluntary. People will adapt, but will need to be content with a standard of living that we are not-well accustomed. Simply put, what cannot be sustained will not be sustained. This includes many modern conveniences and rights benefits like quality healthcare and housing. We will probably settle at some 1920 era level of energy consumption, with bits and bobs of our current gadgettry preserved to keep us pacified. However even the privileged will feel diminished as their luxury is supported by the scale economies built on cheap energy.

I dont want to be dark, there is joy in my vision of the future. It just wont allow for me to fly across the ocean in a single day to go to Pikes.

This is as cosmopolitan group online as you may find. I am genuinely interested in peoples thoughts on the subject of true sustainability. I think the driving force for sustainability will be inflation and shortages, not rising seas. When you think of being more sustainable what does that mean? Particularly interested in @Johnny Vodka response. Hope we can light one up at EsVedra one afternoon and discuss IRL.

thanks for reading my rant... its now 10pm AST.
 

Snowy

Member
..... because we have reached our growth limits.....
There really isn't a limit to a nation's wealth.

Wealth and growth isn't necessarily dependant on oil. Oil has (probably) hardly ever been cheaper than today - based on how many hours to you have to work to buy a litre of petrol. Oil is unlikely to increase in price to ridiculous 1970's era levels. There are now so many alternative sources of energy that will increasingly keep the energy prices at a reasonable level. We will have switched to other sources of energy long before we run out of oil.

I work in the public sector. We have only just started rationalising how we operate. We'll see massive changes in Western countries in the coming years thanks to modern technology. Over the last 12 months we have gone from spending lots of time traveling to and from meetings. Now we just sit at our desks, currently at home, and click on a link to have an online meeting. Lots of my colleagues will be working from home also in the future. They won't be driving in to work each day - and therefore lowering the need to investment in roads and other infratructure. This is money saved that can be used elsewhere - and improve people's lives.

More and more public services will be available online. I receive few phone calls simply because just about everything people want to know in my sector is available on our home page. This saves me a lot of time - which is increasingly being used in other fields. We are getting more and more out of each day at work. This will result in either improvement in the services we deliver and/or people's taxes will drop - freeing up money for consumption elsewhere. Both lead to growth in the economy.
 

Tourist

Active Member
interesting post Casa. made me think. the key thing I guess is sorting out the ideals from the reality.

Firstly the hypocrisy charge. Yes we are all guilty, unless you really do power up by biofuel and travel by bicycle across continents. (I do know a guy who does do that..)

I'm not going to pretend to be Mr Green. I hate seeing bereft polar bears but I hate the idea of going w/o certain consumibles even more...

But then again there's things I am considering... when the planes retake to the skies I feel no great urge to be on them and when I next drive I want to get a hybrid/electric car if I could find somewhere to park it. the nightjet trains are expanding across Europe when they said sleeper trains were dead. These are all better than gas guzzlers

easy for me to say though, for others less so.. if I still lived in London it might be a different story. you enjoy the sun for your mental health. not everyone can drive or get a train. But then again, tourism is a privilege not a right... a point that probably won't go down well on this forum as we've all grown up expecting holidays on tap. but historically who did that until the 60s/70s? who said it's forever?

as for the broader economics, I don't know.... seems the only people laughing are in Beijing as decadent western liberal capitalism eats itself
 

soulcompromise

Active Member
Global poverty, food insecurity, domestic violence, all tear at my heart.

@CasaNegron, your post brings welcome tears to my eyes. Very much appreciated!


I feel like the more we do to raise awareness the better. That not only is there an issue, but that it's up to us to see it through. Nothing will be done without the assistance of the free world - countries like England and the United States, Ireland, Germany, Spain, and France. We can do it together!

and it feels like Easter morning. and the coffee tastes like chocolate.
 

CasaNegron

Active Member
light one up at EsVedra
Edit: cala d'hort

@Snowy do you think we can have unlimited growth on a finite planet? Even our renewable energy and battery tech is predicated on "rare" earth minerals, requiring large amounts of energy to mine, refine and transport.

There is a loophole. Maybe if we can get enough infrastructure into space in the next 20 years we can extract resources off-world to keep the party going. NASA landed a probe on an asteroid last year and hope to return with a sample. Minerals tend to be much more concentrated in space. Lets hope that the new private space companies can make it profitable in both dollars and net energy. I am considering investing in a couple companies, in case I am wrong.

I think the financial price of petroleum can be misleading. It also is a function of the additional supply brought on by fracking, made economically feasible by low interest rates. This is how the USA became a net energy exporter in recent years. Take away the low interest rates and the producers will go offline, as they will loose $ on every barrel of oil produced. With less supply, the price will increase for the consumer.

@Tourist I dont feel guilty. I will enjoy the current situation as long as I can. Eventually, I think it will become too expensive to fly every year. The world will begin to look more similar to what it did for our grandparents and great grandparents (much bigger). Spain would be a 1x per lifetime experience, if at all. Ibiza will be fine for awhile, and will continue to adapt.

@soulcompromise Its not all gloom and doom. People will probably get to know their neighbors better, rather than some random strangers on a forum... people will learn new skills. . Several years ago I had a garden and began raising quail for meat and eggs. I am in a much smaller living arrangement now, so I am learning to sail (with as little help from the engine as possible). I also think people will be more charitable, as aid will likely be more direct.
 

Johnny Vodka

Well-Known Member
This is as cosmopolitan group online as you may find. I am genuinely interested in peoples thoughts on the subject of true sustainability. I think the driving force for sustainability will be inflation and shortages, not rising seas. When you think of being more sustainable what does that mean? Particularly interested in @Johnny Vodka response. Hope we can light one up at EsVedra one afternoon and discuss IRL.
Thanks for starting this thread. Probably going to be busy through today, but will certainly contribute. I'm determined to be a bit more ethical/sustainable in how I approach life. My attitude to what I eat and how much I travel has changed over the last few years, and I think it's important people think about the implications of the way they live - which doesn't mean I'm perfect or expect anyone else to be. What annoys me most is people who just don't care...

I think there should be enough on the planet for everyone, if we live responsibly and don't have silly expectations. I also think finance is a bit of a dark art... we're encouraged to think about debt and how it might not be financially viable to feed everyone or give a decent level of healthcare. Well, what would happen if society broke down tomorrow? What would matter is food, shelter, people... money and credit cards would mean nothing.

I'm already rambling... but those are some rough thoughts from me to start with. :lol:
 

Tourist

Active Member
the problem as I see it is that the resources are there but they're not evenly distributed. there's no obvious means of redistributing in a globalised landscape where say the tech gods can hold entire nation states to ransom (we pay you peanuts in corp tax or we scoot off elsewhere..). Traditionally there would have been revolutions and civil unrest but that isn't happening because societies have effectively acquiesced to the new order and are not voting in radical left govts anywhere. so there needs to be a plan c. awkwardly, the sustainable movement has emerged at a time when cheap imports/services had given the poor (both in west and developing world) more consumer power than ever before and this presents a problem. green living is expensive and middle class, paying someone in Bangladesh 10p for those shoes is not.... but it is 10p more than they might otherwise have. Think local is a good thing in theory however, on a political level, the idea of entire continents no longer having physical contact with each other scares me a little bit although perhaps it doesn't matter anymore when we're all digitally connected? es complicado
 

Johnny Vodka

Well-Known Member
the problem as I see it is that the resources are there but they're not evenly distributed. there's no obvious means of redistributing in a globalised landscape where say the tech gods can hold entire nation states to ransom (we pay you peanuts in corp tax or we scoot off elsewhere..). Traditionally there would have been revolutions and civil unrest but that isn't happening because societies have effectively acquiesced to the new order and are not voting in radical left govts anywhere. so there needs to be a plan c. awkwardly, the sustainable movement has emerged at a time when cheap imports/services had given the poor (both in west and developing world) more consumer power than ever before and this presents a problem. green living is expensive and middle class, paying someone in Bangladesh 10p for those shoes is not.... but it is 10p more than they might otherwise have. Think local is a good thing in theory however, on a political level, the idea of entire continents no longer having physical contact with each other scares me a little bit although perhaps it doesn't matter anymore when we're all digitally connected? es complicado

One of the big issues is that working class people are always going to feel like they're losing out under neoliberalism, so you get an answer from the left (which blames corporations, rich folk, 'the system') and an answer from the right (which blames immigrants, the unemployed, etc). At the moment, voters seem to be choosing the right - obviously the right has more money to spend to push its message (via news channels, newpapers, etc).
 

Tourist

Active Member
One of the big issues is that working class people are always going to feel like they're losing out under neoliberalism, so you get an answer from the left (which blames corporations, rich folk, 'the system') and an answer from the right (which blames immigrants, the unemployed, etc). At the moment, voters seem to be choosing the right - obviously the right has more money to spend to push its message (via news channels, newpapers, etc).

I don't buy the biased media argument tbh. Sales of newspapers have collapsed. People have exposure to more news sources than ever and gravitate towards their own online bubbles. Anyone who is spoonfed chooses to be spoonfed. There are deeper reasons why the left isn't winning or not convincing. The left doesn't talk the same language of people in small biz, self-employed, trades.... Anyone more left of Biden might not have won in the US. Podemos have collapsed in Spain, Corbyn in the UK. YET Ironically this is at a time when state intervention is back in fashion (by necessity...) so this weird obsession with ID politics at a time when the economic picture ought to favour the left is probably costing it dear
 

Johnny Vodka

Well-Known Member
This is as cosmopolitan group online as you may find. I am genuinely interested in peoples thoughts on the subject of true sustainability. I think the driving force for sustainability will be inflation and shortages, not rising seas. When you think of being more sustainable what does that mean? Particularly interested in @Johnny Vodka response. Hope we can light one up at EsVedra one afternoon and discuss IRL.

Much has been made over lockdown about people reconnecting with nature. I think a lot of people can be persuaded by environmental and animal welfare arguments. Actually, connecting with nature is something you can do and do for free. Obviously, this depends a bit on where you live and whether you have access to green space, but over the last 12 months, I've tried to get away from the screen more, whether that actually be to plant stuff in my garden or just observe birds and frogs. :lol: I also made the decision at some point not to use slug pellets or chemicals.

It sounds a bit shit, but in terms of lifestyle choices, I think people really need to carefully consider (amongst other things) how many kids they have - which is easy for me to say, because I've never wanted kids. Stress on the planet = number of people * average consumption. I wouldn't stop people going above a certain number of kids, but it's something to think about if you are trying to live a more sustainable life... There was a good Chris Packham documentary about this. Chris Packham: we need to talk about population | Population Matters | Every Choice Counts | Sustainable World Population Unfortunately, there are a fair number of people who misrepresent this concern as racist, as if it only applies to large families in the developing world..
 

Johnny Vodka

Well-Known Member
so this weird obsession with ID politics at a time when the economic picture ought to favour the left is probably costing it dear
Indeed. I'm all for treating people fairly, but I think the obsession with identity politics (or some really particular issues) is damaging the left. I'm not sure people like Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders got into the left for identity politics.
 

MrHullMysterious

Well-Known Member
Much has been made over lockdown about people reconnecting with nature. I think a lot of people can be persuaded by environmental and animal welfare arguments. Actually, connecting with nature is something you can do and do for free. Obviously, this depends a bit on where you live and whether you have access to green space, but over the last 12 months, I've tried to get away from the screen more, whether that actually be to plant stuff in my garden or just observe birds and frogs. :lol: I also made the decision at some point not to use slug pellets or chemicals.

It sounds a bit shit, but in terms of lifestyle choices, I think people really need to carefully consider (amongst other things) how many kids they have - which is easy for me to say, because I've never wanted kids. Stress on the planet = number of people * average consumption. I wouldn't stop people going above a certain number of kids, but it's something to think about if you are trying to live a more sustainable life... There was a good Chris Packham documentary about this. Chris Packham: we need to talk about population | Population Matters | Every Choice Counts | Sustainable World Population Unfortunately, there are a fair number of people who misrepresent this concern as racist, as if it only applies to large families in the developing world..
I kinda found this ironic when extinction rebellion was protesting and a guy who had 5 kids was complaining about people driving cars and that. 🙄

(Each person in 1st world country generate around 6 tonnes of CO2 a year.)
 

Johnny Vodka

Well-Known Member
I kinda found this ironic when extinction rebellion was protesting and a guy who had 5 kids was complaining about people driving cars and that. 🙄

(Each person in 1st world country generate around 6 tonnes of CO2 a year.)

I suppose it depends on what kind of lifestyle that guy is living. Maybe he's a proper hippie? Maybe they all eat lentils, wear hand me downs and ride bikes everywhere? But five kids and a typical western lifestyle equals a lot of stress on the environment.
 

soha

Well-Known Member
f*** sake I was starting to feel guilty enough as it is eating meat and now I got to feel guilty for having 3 kids 😅

It's a fair point though regarding overpopulation, but I think an easier approach would be to change the eating habits of humans to rely less on meat

As Attenborough said in his recent doc, the world can't sustain all these carnavoire humans. So we need to either change our eating habits or start castrating bhoys.
 

MrHullMysterious

Well-Known Member
f*** sake I was starting to feel guilty enough as it is eating meat and now I got to feel guilty for having 3 kids 😅

It's a fair point though regarding overpopulation, but I think an easier approach would be to change the eating habits of humans to rely less on meat

As Attenborough said in his recent doc, the world can't sustain all these carnavoire humans. So we need to either change our eating habits or start castrating bhoys.
That is true, but ~25% of worlds meat consumption is for our pets. So if have such a pet, even more reason to feel guilty 😂
 

MrHullMysterious

Well-Known Member
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