A Time to Celebrate

And Less is More

uploaded-file-77641Fesitivities are over but the first week of January is always an exciting one.  We get excited about grabbing life by the horns and doing everything better this time around.  I personally am feeling a bit plumper, a bit more inspired and have found myself thinking that 2008 could be a great year in the world of sustainability.  What we do know is that it can’t get worse in terms of federal efforts…     
The light’s of the Earth from Above.

But I have also been thinking about the power of individuals and not in the sense of Margaret Meade’s notorious quote, but rather the impact of individuals, who make up a total sum-specifically in terms of consumption.

We Will be Ok-Even if we Consume Less

Jared Diamond’s Op-ed in the New York Times yesterday was a simple mathmatical discussion on the unsustainability of consumption levels in the United States and the growing rates in China.  Looking at the numbers, he creates a model for what things might look like when we reach the euphoria of global mass consumption.  He points out that the concept of developing nations achieving such consumption and high quality of life is a “cruel hoax.” And while this sounds utterly dismal and pessimisitc, the power of the individual and their total sum is the silver lining.  He points out that a Western European’s per capita oil consumption is about half of that of an American’s.  And in many indicators, their quality of life surpasses ours. They actually enjoy longer life expectancies, lower infant mortality, and quality public educations.

So my question to you, our reader, would it be hard for you to minimize your consumption?  Would you feel a drastic change in your quality of life?  No preaching here.  Just an honest question.

Happy New Year from the CUNY Insitute for Sustainable Cities.


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