Are you willing to sacrifice?, 10°

Change is fundamentally about sacrifice. Whether it's choosing chocolate ice cream or vanilla, when we decide on a course of action we sacrifice alternative options.

Faced with climate instability and the social and political turmoil that will result in "staying the course", most everyone who visits Celsias has already decided to participate in the change that will lessen the damage.

But are we really willing to make the sacrifices needed to achieve the goal?

As the debate about off-shore drilling again returns to the national spotlight, I recognize that for many families the price of gas is seriously impacting their stability, happiness, and opportunity. Though I know with great certainty that the crutch of expanded oil exploration won't help ease their financial (and too often emotional) pain, by opposing the oil rigs I am asking others to make an emotional sacrifice. I'm asking them, those still addicted to oil, to suck it up and change their lifestyle. That is a painful sacrifice for most people.

My lifestyle requires very little gasoline, but I'm not blind to the fact I am unique in this perspective, relatively speaking. Many of the actions on this website that I have agreed to aren't really painful sacrifices, most actually enhance my happiness. But how ethical is it to ask others to suffer more than I am willing to suffer?

So my question for this discussion is this, what are you willing to give up, what painful sacrifice (emotionally) are you willing to agree to in order to put skin into the game?

4 replies

C Robb W. 429°

Human resistance to change is a fundamental barrier to happiness. We resist even when all the evidence points to a better way.

If we are going to sacrifice we must insure that our actions have an immediate effect. For instance, grid tied solar PV produces no measurable reduction in GHG emissions until actual change in power plant operations occur. This won't happen until thousands of people mount solar PV on their roofs as well. Conservation is not required and research indicates only 6% improvements in conservation behaviour. However, if you choose to go off grid you must, by design, practice significant conservation behaviour as you have a finite amount of power available.

So not only do you not use a 3kw hair dryer but you don't purchase it either, multiply that out to every other piece of superfluous gadgetry you don't purchase and operate due to your finite power system and the savings are immediate and quantifiable.

This level of "sacrifice", if you choose to call it that, is much more effective because you have reduced demand to a far higher degree than if you merely added a grid tied system to your house with very little demand reduction.

How many people are willing to give up a front loading fridge freezer, a dishwasher, extra televisions, game consoles, extra computers, multiple telephones, bug zappers, power tools, toasters, resistance heaters, electric water heaters, air conditioners, curling irons, uncurling irons, power washers, air compressors, excessive lighting, electric towel dryers, power showers, etc, etc, etc....

Would our lives be richer without all that crap? certainly our bank accounts would be fatter, not only for not having bought it all but also for not having paid the utility to power it. We could work less because we'd be spending less. Hmm what would we do with all our time if we didn't have gadgetry to buy and spend time with; quality family time, get to know the neighbors, grow food, cook food, read a book, watch the sunset, feel the evening breeze, make love, teach our children, keep bees, raise chickens, get enough exercise, get enough sleep, etc, etc, etc.....

Oh I'm sorry, I was supposed to be talking about sacrifice......

Written in August 2008

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C Robb W. 429°

Yes, community is so important. This is what Celsias is all about. While not local I think of it as a community nonetheless. I am researching nieghborhood food growing for my masters thesis and it is really pointing up the value of having neighbors to do it with, moral support, advice, material support, labour sharing, etc. Even when talking about making "sacrifices", if we choose to call them that, I think community support is vital. The transition town movement uses this strategy to great success. Plan an evening of neighborhood communal food sharing, a pot luck, a harvest feast, whatever and show a movie like The End of Suburbia, or The Community Solution about Cuba, and use it as a springboard for discussion. It will help to build community around your efforts.

Written in August 2008

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C Robb W. 429°

George Monbiot writes about "love miles", the distance we travel to see loved ones, most damagingly on airplanes. I struggle with this one as I live in the UK and my family, other than my wife, are in the US. I've reduced my flying by more than half but I still fly typically once/year to see my family. We have investigated ships and hope to utilize that mode of transport when we move back next year but for now we fly. So no Sudeep, I guess I'm not willing yet to part with a loved one. I expect that once we move to the states our flying will decrease by half again and it won't be long before flying becomes something only the rich can afford anyway.

Written in August 2008

Sacrafice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. While my household has made many changes to be more environmentally respectful and more energy efficient, we don't see it as a sacrifice. We see it as being a lean, mean fighting machine! Fighting to bring back the beauty of our once pristeen environment, providing habitat for our indiginous creatures and fighting to stop waste and misuse. We lead a simple life, but a full life. Growing our own produce is not a sacrifice, but the coolest part of country living! Little things add up to big things and when you get 100 people doing one little thing, you multiply the effects 100%. I challenge everyone to find that one thing!

Written in September 2008

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