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Rippounet

What should be done... about climate change

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I have some time and I'm curious.
I'm wondering what should actually be done to prevent global warming. I see the political and economic angles, but I'm not clear on what it implies for everyone on a daily basis. What would the lifestyle changing measures be? The few I have are:
- Almost eliminating meat. I assume we'd turn to protein alternatives.
- Turning to short circuit production, especially for food (I'll miss guacamole).
- Almost eliminating individual transportation and air travel.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle... Almost no single-use items.
- Better quality devices (less planned obsolescence) that use less electricity.
Has anyone written an authoritative guide to the ecological transition?

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2 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

- Almost eliminating meat. I assume we'd turn to protein alternatives.
- Turning to short circuit production, especially for food (I'll miss guacamole).
- Almost eliminating individual transportation and air travel.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle... Almost no single-use items.
- Better quality devices (less planned obsolescence) that use less electricity.
Has anyone written an authoritative guide to the ecological transition?

Interesting thread and suggestions.  Only one I'd add is a gas tax - in lieu of "eliminating" individual transportation and air travel.  I don't think the latter's possible.  I'm sure there's going to be a lot of very strong and more well-informed opinions on this - I'm definitely no expert - but I'll start off by evaluating your suggestions in the American context, politically:

  • I agree that this is a huge factor, and limiting cow farts would rather hilariously go a long way in the fight.  But I love beef, and it would literally kill my uncle (and now his son's) livelihood.  I think the best way to do it is what Michelle Obama was trying to do as her chosen cause celebre as First Lady - encourage children's health by emphasizing a healthy diet from the get-go.  Everybody plays lip-service to this, but if you start it at a young age maybe the meat consumption can significantly lower without government intervention, which is too entrenched to happen anytime soon.
  • Short circuit production is maybe more palatable, and you could appeal to the nativism of Trumpist populism.  Again, I think this could function as a push, but not in totality - as the joke goes, white people aren't giving up their guac.
  • As I said above, I don't think you could possibly eliminate personal transport, and especially not air.  What you can do is improve public transportation and high-speed rail to the extent that it makes the private alternatives less cost-effective than taking the train/metro/what have you.
  • Well, yeah.  The emphasis I'd put on recycling is making sure local governments actually enforce the recycling policies.  I live in an apartment complex, and while there are recycling bins and such, I know it's actually all going to the dump all the same.  Hell I've seen em pick it up and put both dumpsters in the same truck.
  • I'm not sure how to do that systematically, that's over my head, but definitely all for it.

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Biodegradable products. I was hearing something on the radio about using mushrooms to pack crates, for example.

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One high impact and low nuisance thing anyone can do right now is switch to LED lighting. The light used be very harsh, but they've optimized them to the point where, if you buy the right one, you can barely tell the difference from incandescent and they use nearly an order of magnitude less energy.

Beyond that, there's not much an individual can do. You can try using items to destruction (i.e. until they can't fulfill their function anymore), but planned obsolescence makes the effects of this relatively minor. Unless you're very rich, the bulk of your usage of transportation is simply to and from work so there's little you can about it (maybe share a ride if you can).

I don't see developed nations giving up the various luxuries we've become accustomed to. Consumption is practically the basis of our economy and even using things to destruction would cause a deep recession if everyone did it. Realistically, it's easier to switch to carbon-free energy and plant forests (both of which can be done centrally) than to lower people's standards of living.

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In the U.S. 39.8% of the land is publicly held. 

https://www.summitpost.org/public-and-private-land-percentages-by-us-states/186111

I would like to see state and national efforts to focus as much of that land as possible towards ground cover crops and forests that benefit us in reducing carbon emissions.

Certainly no one magic bullet gets us all the way there, but I like starting with this effort because we have the tools to do this right now.

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17 minutes ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

I would like to see state and national efforts to focus as much of that land as possible towards ground cover crops and forests that benefit us in reducing carbon emissions.

Isn't a whole hell of a lot that ~40% either national parks, capitals, museums, centers, etc.?  I'm having a hard time seeing how there'd be much effect in reducing carbon emissions in most of the government owned areas.  Unless you wanna, like, abolish energy in most of DC and all the state capitals.  So on second thought..

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Those are national/ Fed areas you are focusing on. Don't forget the states, counties and municipal land held . We are not going to eliminate our parks and museums. But there is still management opportunities along our highway systems for more greenhouse reducing planting for example.

Such efforts may seem like a big task but it seems more realistic and doable than eliminating personal transport. 

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23 minutes ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Don't forget the states, counties and municipal land held . We are not going to eliminate our parks and museums. But there is still management opportunities along our highway systems for more greenhouse reducing planting for example.

I wasn't forgetting the states/localities, that was kinda my point.  If you wanna shape up the interstate and highway systems in general, have at it.  I'm just not sure how much of an impact that will have.  Protected areas apparently make up 14% of the US, and when you add in the rest of the parks and all the other government owned property that's going to be in every city/town, I really don't think there's much that can be done.

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ON the recycling front, i saw a nice little video about a UK restaurant which has gradually transitioned so that they no longer use disposables in the workplace. That means no cling film, tin foil etc. They have even expanded this influence somewhat to only accept goods from suppliers who will deliver in reusable packages (crates etc.) I think initiatives like this are promising and if adopted on a larger scale should have a snowball effect, prompting others in the chain to adopted similar policies

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Woah, I honestly thought I was missing something big, but based on your answers I'm not... :o

So it's really not so bad, provided we act now, uh. Which makes it all the more tragic I suppose.

11 hours ago, DMC said:

Interesting thread and suggestions.  Only one I'd add is a gas tax - in lieu of "eliminating" individual transportation and air travel. 

I'm leaning the other way.
Gas taxes basically mean that individual transportation, exotic fruits, or anything foreign-made, will be luxuries reserved for the richest fucks out there. Many of which happen to have a rather important responsibility in the current problematic socio-economic structure in the first place.
Basically, if you go through taxes, it means you're trusting the market to "self-regulate" in time and you're creating new inequalities on top of existing ones.
 

11 hours ago, DMC said:

 

  • I agree that this is a huge factor, and limiting cow farts would rather hilariously go a long way in the fight.  But I love beef, and it would literally kill my uncle (and now his son's) livelihood.  I think the best way to do it is what Michelle Obama was trying to do as her chosen cause celebre as First Lady - encourage children's health by emphasizing a healthy diet from the get-go.  Everybody plays lip-service to this, but if you start it at a young age maybe the meat consumption can significantly lower without government intervention, which is too entrenched to happen anytime soon.
  • Short circuit production is maybe more palatable, and you could appeal to the nativism of Trumpist populism.  Again, I think this could function as a push, but not in totality - as the joke goes, white people aren't giving up their guac.
  • As I said above, I don't think you could possibly eliminate personal transport, and especially not air.  What you can do is improve public transportation and high-speed rail to the extent that it makes the private alternatives less cost-effective than taking the train/metro/what have you.
  • Well, yeah.  The emphasis I'd put on recycling is making sure local governments actually enforce the recycling policies.  I live in an apartment complex, and while there are recycling bins and such, I know it's actually all going to the dump all the same.  Hell I've seen em pick it up and put both dumpsters in the same truck.

These are sensible policies.
What worries me is that we may not have the time to make the transition through this kind of progressive, moderate approaches that respect both the market and individual liberties.
For instance, assuming we believe that acting is urgent, is emphasizing a healthy diet really an appropriate answer?

I opened this thread wondering what should/could be done from a bottom-up perspective., because ideally people can start adapting their behavior on their own. But I'm worried that any actual solution would really be a semi-authoritarian top-down one and look like China's credit score.
 

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9 hours ago, DMC said:

I wasn't forgetting the states/localities, that was kinda my point.  If you wanna shape up the interstate and highway systems in general, have at it.  I'm just not sure how much of an impact that will have.  Protected areas apparently make up 14% of the US, and when you add in the rest of the parks and all the other government owned property that's going to be in every city/town, I really don't think there's much that can be done.

I do think there's potential for many more trees  along (both adjacent and in medians)  our interstate highway system which stretch over 48,000 miles.

US Interstate highway system https://g.co/kgs/gbaf3e

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Posted (edited)

Plant trees! Halt the deforestation of Africa, Brasil and southeast Asia, and North America.

Hate to break it to ya, monsieur Rip -- but climate change has already taken place.  But reforestation can do a lot of mitigation.

Also, mushrooms?  Really?  Do you have any idea how quickly they go bad and what that smells like?  Not to mention how difficult the rotting slime is to clean up?  That has to be one of the most stupid ideas I've seen in a long time -- beyond all the supposed ideas that support fascism, racism, sexism, tvillain, etc.

Edited by Zorral

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Posted (edited)

I think a lot more trees could be planted all over, in cities, outside cities and so on. Also if battery technology was better it could make renewable energy much more efficient and could probably eliminate much of back up coal power plant requirements that exist now to keep grids functional, it would also make electric cars more attractive.

I think in terms of transportation, you need to keep the disabled population in mind, a lot of public transportation is inaccessible for many disabled people, some issues can be fixed (like NYC could put elevators in every subway station and keep them in good repair, which would make it much more accessible for some people), but some disabled people, like people who because of their disability cannot function in loud places or extreme temperatures or cannot stand for very long (and many of these places have no seating available, especially when crowded, of course more seating could be put in, but that doesn't necessarily fix anything as especially younger people with hidden disabilities often have trouble getting people to move so they can sit, and not everyone can advocate for themselves) or walk very far.

One thing I don't think I've seen mentioned yet is encouraging much more population density, mass transit works much better in dense areas, it's much easier to live without a car in a dense city with good public transit than in a suburb. It also leaves more land free for forests and farming.

Edited by dornishpen

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19 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Hate to break it to ya, monsieur Rip -- but climate change has already taken place.

Ha ha, yeah, my turn of phrase was unfortunate.

Originally I toyed with the idea of opening the thread with the following question: "It's 2040, we've already had +3°C, your party of choice takes political power in your country, what should be done immediately?"

12 minutes ago, dornishpen said:

One thing I don't think I've seen mentioned yet is encouraging much more population density,

It borders on conspirationism, but I believe some countries are already doing that (albeit indirectly): by limiting public services in rural areas, some governments are de facto encouraging people to live in the cities.
Combined with the developement of -relatively- non-polluting mass transit systems (metros and tramways) in many European cities...
I get the feeling that one way or the other, some European governments are actively encouraging urbanization. Though the environmental benefits may -of course- not be the primary goal, I still get the feeling there's a deliberate effort in that direction.

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Realistically there are precisely two things I can think of that will from the OP 'stop' global warming:

-Massive scientific breakthroughs in massive engineering marvels

-Outbreak of religion that causes everyone to act as if their very souls require them to morally behave in an ecologically friendly way.

 

We are well past the point where stopping global warming is an impossibility, and we are reaching the point where stopping ecological upheaval is basically impossible. I am unconvinced that we as a species can modify animalistic instincts enough to change behaviors such that they would have the desired effect, especially given the short timeframe. It's better to hope for moonshots and plan on mitigating the worst of things. 

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I agree with Kal and FB that these steps arent going to do much/anything to halt what is now inevitable, but i think they are still changes we should e trying to make

28 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Realistically there are precisely two things I can think of that will from the OP 'stop' global warming:

-Massive scientific breakthroughs in massive engineering marvels

-Outbreak of religion that causes everyone to act as if their very souls require them to morally behave in an ecologically friendly way.

 

We are well past the point where stopping global warming is an impossibility, and we are reaching the point where stopping ecological upheaval is basically impossible. I am unconvinced that we as a species can modify animalistic instincts enough to change behaviors such that they would have the desired effect, especially given the short timeframe. It's better to hope for moonshots and plan on mitigating the worst of things. 

The English courts will protect their rights as members of this religion at least! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grainger_plc_v_Nicholson (unhelpful comment, sorry, the case just jumped to mind as i was reading your post)

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17 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Biodegradable products. I was hearing something on the radio about using mushrooms to pack crates, for example. 

 

While an equally critical (and related) problem this is more of a plastic pollution/biodiversity collapse crisis thing than a climate crisis thing.

It's terrifying that we're currently dealing with more than one planet-threatening crisis of our own making.

 

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2 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

To have a truly meaningful effect - reduce the human population by 90%

This is not politically expedient, however.

But like 70% of emissions are caused by only 100 companies.

some times i think this depopulation "fix" is kind of a dogwhistle (not saying you are doing this) and misses the point entirely, and is offen racist and classist. 

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