Going Green

Question of the Day July 11 2012 Going Green

What does going “Green” mean to you, and how do you implement efforts to improve the environment in your life?

For me, going green means doing things in ways that are compatible with other life forms on this planet.

It means reducing the amount of toxins I generate.
It means working at educating people as to how things work.

So many many ideas involved.

16 years ago Ailsa and I bought a 30 acre block of land and planted 16,000 trees on it. That has more than offset our carbons emissions.

8 years ago I stopped using soaps and shampoos and conditioners. I will occasionally use soap if I have been working on a diesel engine or other greasy device, and mostly I just use water and scrub.

We do not use any antiseptics on a general basis. We will sometimes use them if someone is ill.

We grow some food.
We recycle.
We burn wood we grow ourselves for hot water.
Our electricity comes from hydroelectric sources.

I work for conservation and sustainable management at many levels, on many different committees, and in many different fora.

And going green is not something that is easy.
There are no simple rules that work in all situations.
One has to use awareness, knowledge and intelligence at all times.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is nothing that is poison, in and of itself.
Poison is an attribute that includes context and concentration. Too much water we drown and die, too little we dehydrate and die.

So it is with all things.
What is perfectly stable at one concentration, can become dangerous if the concentration increases by a factor of 2 or more.
So it is never enough simply to adopt a particular behaviour, without considering what everyone else is doing also.
What my grandparents did when there were only 1 million people in NZ, may no longer work now that there are 5 million.

So too with people on the planet.
When there were only 1 billion, we could do lots of things.
Now that there 7 billion of us, and likely to be closer to 10 billion before we stop expanding numbers, there are many old ways of doing things that no longer work.

One of the greatest of these is markets and money.
We can no longer afford to trust our future to markets, now that there are markets for money, and not just markets for goods and services – the incentives involved are just too perverse.

This planet is perfectly capable of sustaining 10 billion people in abundance.
It is not capable of sustaining even one billion in the unbridled greed exhibited by some.

It seems to me that what is most required is a whole new level of cooperation.
That is what seems to characterise all great advances in life.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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