poverty and ecology… technology and global warming

November 22, 2007

We went to see the 11th hour tonight. It’s basically a documentary, with experts all over the different fields talking about global warming and ecological disasters, and some video footage inbetween. It’s good. But walking out through Brooklyn mall I told Maryke that the call is simply too big. Everything I do should change. The clothes I wear, the light currently burning, the car I drive, the electricity I buy, everything. And in all honesty, I’m not sure if I am ready for this… but I firmly believe that I should change what I do and how I do it to become more ecology friendly.

The documentary touch on some thoughts I’ve been having the past few months, on how communities should change and function in order to provide a more ecological alternative. It’s about use of technology, but it’s about much more than that, it’s looking holistically at how we “do community” with the shadow of ecological disaster looming.

One of the things they talk about a lot by the end is how our buildings should function to make them more ecology friendly. Buildings with solar panels providing energy, where waste is reverted back into the system, which is better insulated, using some form of natural air conditioning, buildings functioning like trees, buildings with lots of plants in them. It’s really like putting onto screen some of the visions I’ve been having for how we should live! So I enjoyed it.

But I have some questions. It’s very nice for America, but how are we going to put solar panels on every shack in Mamelodi? How are we going to change every house in Soweto to be better insulated? How are we going to green Shoshanguve, with plants growing on the roof of every home, plants growing everywhere?

I agree with the conclusion of the documentary, that the answer is not in taking of our clothes and going back to living in the wild, for one, that would mean killing of abour 6 billion people, because earth cannot support all of us if we dump all our technology. No, we are a technological society, and that is fine, but clean technologies do exist. They predict that we can cut the “human footprint” left on earth by 90% by using cleaner technologies already available, or nearly available. But again, how do we implement this in poorer countries?

You could use the argument that the developed countries are the largest users, and thus, if we can change their energy output, and CO2 output, we will make a large difference, and that would be correct. But do we really expect the poor countries to sit around in poverty, not digging up their fossil fuels, because the earth is warming up, not using or outputting lots of energy, because that will cause warming of the earth, if doing this could give them the same opportunities which they saw the developed countries take 50 years ago? Not gonna happen!

We need to take the problems serious. Very serious! But the developing countries would need to be helped to get “clean” as well. How about this for an idea: Tax polluting companies, the fossil fuel industries, and use the tax to install clean energy forms in developing countries, and improve housing to be more ecological friendly. Why, we could also put a tax onto running armies, for all the pollution they cause, and maybe just for suffering in general, and then tax the huge American fleet, airforce and army for all the fossils they are burning.

Any thoughts? How do we make poor areas and countries ecologically friendly, and furthermore help to put things in place which would help them not to become polluting countries?

One Response to “poverty and ecology… technology and global warming”


  1. […] But as of late, I’m becoming a fan. I first saw the preview for Jesus Camp while watching 11th hour. Jesus Camp is a documentary on […]


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