Yes, climate change is real and yes, without a doubt, humanity is responsible for much of the warming. If left unaddressed, we will suffer catastrophic consequences. However, its often characterized as the defining issue of our age. It is not. Its a distraction from the root cause of climate change. That root cause is mindless consumerism.
Renewable Energy Alone Will Make us Worse Off
If we failed to address mindless consumption, then transitioning to a cheap limitless supply of energy would only accelerate mindless consumption. That consumption would then further accelerate the loss of biodiversity and further amplify the chronic disease crises we face. Solving the climate crises in isolation is NOT ENOUGH! Failure to address the underlying cause ultimately translates to a worsening of our health and wellbeing. Why so?
Lowering Costs of Energy Use Leads to More Mindless Consumption
Let’s think about this carefully. There’s really two scenarios to think through. In the first, we transition to a source of energy that is a good substitute for fossil fuels but ends up costing more. For example, that might be the case if we transitioned suddenly today to all solar & wind or nuclear energy. Perhaps after accounting for energy storage and infrastructure costs, energy expenses go up. Perhaps, cap and trade policies (which would make fossil fuels more expensive) make the change more advantageous to the cost conscious consumer. However, over time, since these sources of energy are either renewable or cost little after the initial investment, costs come down.
In the current political climate and just given our reluctance to spend more on energy than we are used to, another scenario is perhaps more likely. In this scenario, we make the transition to other sources of energy only as costs come down.
Saving Money –> Spending More
BOTTOM LINE: THERE IS A BETTER WAY!
- As John Maynard Keynes said a century ago, people of our time ought to be largely independent of our employers for our income – unfortunately, due to “mindless consumerism”, we are not.
- Mindless consumerism is the underlying reason leading to the rise of chronic disease for several reasons:
- A. It ties us to dependence on our employers. Unfortunately, modern day employment is a health hazard for most (in part due to the sedentary nature of most jobs).
- B. Overconsumption has lead us to engineer out the need for meaningful use of our legs for ambulation.
- C. It has led to environmental changes toxic to our wellbeing. We evolved in and are best suited to natural environments and instead we live in increasingly artificial environments.
- D. Finally, it transforms works to work with blinders on – instead of working for the product or service and receiving money as a side effect, workers focus on making money and the product or service is instead the side effect. The results (with respect to health) is that “food” is no longer food but changed to maximize pleasure and extract profit in spite of the toxicity to health.
- Based on the science of wellbeing one can derive the philosophy that once basic needs are met, “The best things in life are free” therefore —>
- Most people can live far below their means without sacrificing happiness AND by investing the rest, they can become financially independent of their employers enabling them to be —>
- Happier. Healthier. Wealthier. More engaged. Simply better.