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Sustainability Pt.1: The Commons

Original post made on Apr 11, 2013

This week's [Web Link Raucous Caucus] tackles sustainability and the common good, as well as the concept of "green tyranny." "In most instances, these changes have been marginal and the results clearly evident," Tom Cushing writes. "But what happens when the results are less visible, and sustainability calls for greater adjustments?"

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 6:37 PM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

A simple Cost/Benefit analysis would go along way towards taking the "tyranny" out of being green. For those not familiar with the process it is simply weighing the benefits of a given action (eg. eliminating plastic grocery bags) against the costs of that action (eg. increased use of paper bags or unsanitary personal shopping bags).


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:42 am

Duffy, the problem with your comments is that you fail to consider the GIGO element. For example, your comment about "unsanitary shopping bags." That's a byproduct of corporate propaganda - as exposed by Consumer Reports. (Google can-reusable-grocery-bags-make-you-sick-or-is-that-just-baloney) As long as corporations can make people believe things that aren't really true (and why shouldn't they, if it increases profits?) people's ability to perform a meaningful cost-benefit analysis will always tilt in the direction of whatever decisions results in higher short-term profits.

That's sort of the whole point of the sustainability discussion. Corporations have short horizons - what's next quarter's profit level going to be? - while humanity kind of has to be in it for the long haul. Those plastic bags will remain in the environment for a long, long time after their 15 minute ride home from the supermarket. Are you sure you've accurately assessed the "cost" of using them?

Garbage In, Garbage Out. Kind of makes a mess of a cost-benefit analysis when you can't accurately assess the costs, doesn't it?


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Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Apr 11, 2013 at 10:01 am

The problem I have with the "sustainability" concept is that it implies rather strongly and broadly that we must "sustain" where we are socially and economically. Any future and further "growth" is simply out of the question and not possible. Don't even ask...

The result of this sort of thinking will be a steadily accelerating dive into economic ruin.


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Apr 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Rick, the problem I have with your statement is that it implies rather strongly and broadly that you support hydraulic strip mining in national parks and open storage of toxic waste in residential neighborhoods, because they represent "growth." You don't care if the world is driven into a steadily accelerating dive into an environmental hell-hole.

Okay, I don't think you really mean that. I'm just copying you - exaggerating the position of people who disagree with your basic philosophy, so as to tar them with an extreme view, and.... you win! (In your own mind, anyway.)

Seriously, "sustainability" is just a matter of common sense. Polluting the air and water, accelerating global warming, designing our transportation systems inefficiently, creating zoning and building standards that will result in more people being required to get in their cars and drive many miles to go to work and perform routine tasks - are these really "good" things from your perspective? Because avoiding things like that is what "sustainability" is about - trying to leave this world a place we can be proud of for future generations.


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Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Go study Agenda 21. See how much freedom you will lose.


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

Ah, yes. Agenda 21. The latest loony conspiracy theory from the far right. How's that tin-foil holding up in your hat, Rick?


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Posted by Chrissy
a resident of Danville
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

HUH is exposing his liberal underpants by running to his name calling/sarcasm toy box. Agenda 2- IS real--of course thought controllers like HUH can't abide a different opinion.


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Posted by David Gillespie
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:36 am

The green movement was a big part of Hitler's NAZI Germany. When Al (Jazeera) Gore schleps his groceries to his private fuel burning jets in recycled bags--talk to me.


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Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Apr 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm

While I don't agree with every response, Huh? is spot-on with his cynical criticism of the Agenda 21 nonsense.

In the same light of those that swear to the 'reality' of the Roswell incident, the conspiracy theories surrounding the Apollo program, the consideration that Elvis is still in the building and that crude 70s super 8 film strip of the guy in a gorilla suit near Seattle, WA (aka Sasquatch), please tune the tin-foil antennae to another channel.


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Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 13, 2013 at 11:06 am

This exchange is a great set-up for Part 2, coming soon, to the DX at your fingertips! Thanks, guys!


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Apr 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm

When it comes to the most pressing environmental issue, climate change, our ability to protect the commons appears limited.

The EU voted today to allow the price of carbon credits to continue their free fall. In 2008, carbon credits were 25 per ton. After today's vote, they fell 20% (to 4) and will likely fall further. Web Link

Without a price on carbon, carbon emissions will continue unabated. European governments continue to increase coal use (e.g. in the UK and Germany coal use is up 30% from a year ago). They're switching to coal from low emission natural gas and nuclear because coal is cheaper. There's a glut of coal due to U.S. power companies switching to cheap abundant U.S. natural gas. Natural gas can't be easily shipped abroad. EU and Asian governments gobble up the U.S. coal, increasing EU carbon emissions.

The U.S. has no price on carbon, of course. And in Asia, carbon emissions are expected to grow by 40% over the next 20 years. Low carbon energy is more expensive than coal.

For most people in Danville, a $100 increase in a monthly electricity bill is a small price to pay to help stop climate change. We hardly notice. But for a lot of people in Europe and Asia, that's a big deal.


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