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Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’

Just received in my Inbox, from Virgin Atlantic: ‘Picture this: London from $256.’ Don’t get me wrong. I am a big admirer of Richard Branson’s entrepreneurial genius. This is not an effort to single out Virgin Atlantic. Rather, I am pointing at the pervasive nature of our modern consumerist culture.

I was curious, and wanted to find out how much CO2 damage a flight like the Virgin Atlantic one would cause. I tried to google ‘air travel, carbon footprint’, and went nowhere. There was no carbon calculator, that could give me the exact CO2 equivalent for a specific trip, let say, San Francisco – London round trip. If any of you know of one, please pass on the information!

Carbon offsets have a role to play in instances where one absolutely has to travel. But going to London on a whim, just for the fun of it? I think that time has passed.

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Now is payback time

Great article from Vaclav Havel in the New York Times yesterday. He was able to put in words what I have been feeling for a long time. ‘Maybe we should start considering our sojourn on earth as a loan. There can be no doubt that for the past hundred years at least, Europe and the United States have been running up a debt, and now other parts of the world are following their example. Nature is issuing warnings that we must not only stop the debt from growing but start to pay it back. There is little point in asking whether we have borrowed too much or what would happen if we postponed the repayments. Anyone with a mortgage or a bank loan can easily imagine the answer.’

The bargaining problem

I can so well relate to the internal bargaining part, this vain attempt on the part of my ego to negotiate with nature. In my case, I am not questioning the need to repay with some kind of personal sacrifice. I am just wondering if, maybe, I can get away with not paying all of my personal debt back. OK, I will cut down on all the things that don’t deprive me that much, but the ones I really like, such as shopping for clothes, could I please keep on my to do list? I am also tempted to abdicate some of my personal responsibility and to turn it over to policy makers.

We are all responsible

I will leave the last word to Vaclav Havel. ‘I’m skeptical that a problem as complex as climate change can be solved by any single branch of science. Technological measures and regulations are important, but equally important is support for education, ecological training and ethics – a consciousness of the commonality of all living beings and an emphasis on shared responsibility.’

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