I'm not so sure that "a large fraction [of our energy consumption] is
frivolous," although the definition of "frivolous" may be a bit fuzzy.
Tooling about in a thundering big power boat is probably frivolous but when
I look at my sailboat, with its fibreglas hull (produced from fossil fuel),
its aluminum mast (produced using copious quantities of hydroelectricity)
and the sails (more fossil fuel), I am being smug in knowing that I can
glide across the water in a wind-powered boat and can look down on the
Is buying oranges and bananas in January frivolous? Is living in suburbia
frivolous? Is flying to Hawaii frivolous? Is driving halfway across the
continent to visit relatives "frivolous?" Yet, all these activities involve
the use of copious amounts of energy. Remember when we bought fruit "in
season?" Now, based on a survey of the produce section in supermarkets,
every day is summer.
Where I see a major problem is in a change is too rapid (and that may happen
if we don't start to "ramp down" or demands for energy. Imagine, for
example, what would happen if we doubled to cost of gasoline within a year
or two: the poor, who already live "at the edge," would become destitute.
Imagine that you are a person who makes a bit above the minimum wage and
who lives some distance from his place of work. What is he going to do if
the price of gasoline doubles? Give up his job for a minimum wage job (if
he can find one)? Move and sell his house at a fire sale price? What will
happen to people on fixed incomes? These are but a few examples. In time,
we'll adjust, but that may come with a high price that will be borne
disproportionally by the poor (as is usually the case).
From: Joel Cannon [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday April 23, 2001 11:45 AM
Subject: RE: Kyoto (fwd)
> What I do want to stress is that we are dealing with a very
> complex issue that hits us to the very core of our life style.
> Chuck Vandergraaf
I think Chuck is correct that it is a complex issue that hits at the
core of our lifestyle. My comments are not directed at him because
I truly agree with him.
Nevertheless, his statement is ironically similar to statement that I
remember George Bush, the older making near the onset of the Persian
Gulf War. I recall him saying something close to, "What is at stake
hear is our lifestyle" just before climbing into a large pleasure boat
to travel around the harbor at Kennebunkport, Maine.
I found the need to be willing to kill people to support his ability
to travel on a pleasure boat which got something like 2 miles per
gallon to be misguided.
Admitedly, not all consumption is that frivolous, but a large fraction
is frivolous and that would seem to be a very large part of the
-- Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146 Physics Department | Washington and Jefferson College | Washington, PA 15301 |
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