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The disappearing act…

The intriguing thing is, the waste society exorcise just seemingly disappears; that’s modern civilization, that’s the beauty of the system. When anything that is no longer useful just vanish, it becomes no longer a worry, no longer an issue one needs to regard. It becomes an intuitive convenience. There are components of society that we subconsciously take for granted, and one just happens to be the social infrastructure that regulates and mediates our social processes, and conveniently all is good.

But is all actually good? Is that, and should that be the end of our worry? One sure hopes so, but you very well know that this common environment is one closed ecosystem. In other words we are all shitting in one single pool. The reason we continue to do so is because consciously it appears that nothing is wrong, however, is what we cannot observe, non-existent? It seems to be so, and that is what we strive to believe. Is there no emissions when the sky is clear, no additives when the water is fresh? It makes no sense at all. Indeed vision can be very deceiving, and how well does this illusion flourish by our strive for ignorance. This is the disappearing act.

It’s ignant how society continues to proceed by an underlying sense of guilt and nescience. Energy demands are ever increasing, yet our perception of environmental debt are only conveyed through smog, indices and broadcasts. Even if we survey smog do we respond by a mere, hasty sense of rejection, and continued through our regular, devastating routines. Industrial products, goods and liquids society depletes, are disposed conveniently as sewage and waste regardless of its property and environmental burden. The mass of this social waste however do not simply perish, it continues to exist just elsewhere on the surface of this common terrain. There is an essential fact society needs to appreciate; we all consume the same water, breathe the same air.

Statistics alone is unable to change social responses. To change behavior is to change the underlying philosophy that brings about behavior; inflicting change upon decisions. To comprehend environmental pressure is to understand the scope of environmental debt, to reveal and reflect what had been secreted by our discriminate vision; be conscious of the source, attributes and consequences of consumption. In the recent decade this process is made transparent through what is regarded as the ecological footprint, “a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystem… comparing contemporary human demand to Earth’s ecological capacity.”. Carbon and water footprint are influential subset indicators.

The average American cheeseburger for instance, bears about 5 kg of carbon emission per burger, from growing the feed for the cattle, growing the produce, storing and transportation, and preparing the burger itself. This accounts to about 730 kg of greenhouse gas emissions per person per year, or about 200 billion kg of aggregate emissions annually, solely for the love of burgers. Just less than half of North America’s supply of energy is by coal, pumping out over 2 Pg (2 quadrillion grams) of CO2 in the United States alone. This account for only a third of the overall CO2 emissions in the United States, solely upon energy demands. The internet itself uses around 3 percent of United States’ energy consumption, or in terms of Gmail, about 10MB per lb of coal.

The essence of this dialogue is to reveal the extent of the suppressed truth, reflect upon the intensity of our environmental debt, and to induce an urge to question the depths of our consumptive behavior. The intention however is to reduce our ecological footprint, our demand upon the ecological capacity. In order to apply adequate pressure to the consumption-driven market economy, the only effectual procedure is to apply a cost to the undesirable demeanor; (re)introducing a cost variable to the financial mindset. Tax shift towards Ecological taxation for instance, carbon taxes and disposal taxes, are examples of this. The focus is to pressure the market economy to implement cautious yet rational “green” adjustments, gradually placing financial burden parallel to environmental debt. Ignorance hence, will no longer be an intelligent option.

Unpublished from July 10, 2008.

1. above the clouds, michi.p, Flickr.
2. Pollution in China, The Guardian.
3. Skyscraper Sunset, Heaven’s Gate, Flickr.

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September 9, 2008 · 0 Comments
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