A horrific summer storm passed through our area last night, traveling from Leesberg Virginia in the west to Baltimore Maryland. We only caught the edge of the storm, but it knocked out our power for a short while. Black thoughts filled my head, including what if we had no power ever again. After the rain left the sky was a magnificent yellow then red as the sun traveled out behind the clouds in the west. As it was lighter outside than in, I went into my garden and looked around.
I began to think…
As we talk about ridding the world of fossil fuel, it behooves us to ask, “And replace it with what?” Oh I know some will say … renewable energy. But what exactly is renewable energy?
I’ve been reading about this problem for a long time and I don’t think the answer is simple. I know we can’t simply ban fossil fuels and not expect the world economy to collapse.To begin with, there are far too many of us. Overpopulation has been a problem for decades now. Overpopulation is directly tied to the status and education of women. And with overpopulation, ignorance and want increase.
In the early nineteenth century, Charles Dickens wrote… ignorance and want… “beware oh man for on their forehead is written the word doom.”
Dickens was speaking of conditions in London before city planners began to bring vast improvements in infrastructure including the building of water treatment facilities and sewerage systems which reduced the risk of cholera in densely settled areas. Various advances in the fields of health and medicine meant children were more likely to survive to adulthood and reproduce. The numbers of humans alive increased exponentially.
For example, one of my four great-grandmothers was the sole survivor of a cholera epidemic in Chicago that killed her family. She reached adulthood. Being a devout Catholic, she had fifteen children. My paternal grandfather was number 14. Thus, the advances of the nineteenth century led to problems in the following centuries, including overpopulation, global warming, and acidic seas.
The Pope issued an encyclical this week suggesting consumption is an issue destroying the planet and we should stop consuming so much. Which ever way certain politicians try to spin it, the answer isn’t that simple.
True, most of us have too much junk and could probably do with less stuff. “Live simply so others can simply live,” has a nice sound. But someone makes the stuff we buy which means jobs are dependent on our buying stuff. These days, much stuff is made in places that were and still are poor in many ways.
Although I am no longer in the shop til you drop age group, I for one don’t think buying less is the answer. I buy less because I have all I need. I’m trying to declutter my life, so I only make purchases when I need something, say new underwear.
I’m getting rid of stuff we don’t need anymore that someone else can use. I’m not charitable, just practical. I am discarding items left and right. Just yesterday we gave a $600 bike to Bikes for the World. “I might want to ride that bike again,” says 86-year old David. I’ll buy you a new one when you do I say. (Heck, he won’t even climb on the exercise bike.)