Daily Archives: October 7, 2011

Everyday sustainability

Everyone, from the president to the local foods movement to the Poland springs bottle commercial, is talking about sustainability. You can now get a masters (of science) in sustainability, as I have just done. You are most likely aware that we are at some point going to run out of oil, that the planet is getting warmer, and that those polar bears are becoming extinct because the ice sheets are melting. What I’m not sure is being talked about is how to do really simple things in your every day life to change any of this.

First you need to know the real facts. The Earth will run out of oil, but best guesses put it about 50-80 years away (depending on population growth and if we open up the Arctic and dig deeper into the ocean). The real thing to think about though is that we have thousands of years of coal and natural gas left in the U.S. alone…so it’s a bit more likely to switch to one of these sources for fuel (they can actually all be liquified and turned into fuel for cars – that’s the interesting part of fossil fuels, in fact in South Africa during apartheid, they used coal to make oil). As the most tree-hugging, bicycle-riding, hippie I know, I will still tell you that it is important to understand the complete picture. What we should definitely be doing now though is getting ourselves off a total dependency of oil and cutting back on our fossil fuel emissions which are doing nasty things to the air. Knowing that our energy future most likely includes fossil fuels, mitigation and changing our consumption patterns are more important – and every bit counts!

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