Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Project

As I quickly careen towards my 30th birthday, facing adulthood, it's time to take stock of what's going on around me. We live in a country with unprecedented challenges ahead of us at a time when, I believe, we are at an all-time low with respect to our ability to take on any large projects that might solve those problems. (Do you think Hoover dam could be built today?)

Those problems are 1) a failing economy 2) global climate change 3) rising oil prices 4) rising population 5) a broken political process.

Of course all of those are connected -- that much is obvious. But the question I'm going to pose is this: If you're living in the Pacific Northwest and care about any of these problems, what is the best way to respond? I'm going to approach a solution in two parts: 1) do everything I can to eliminate these problems, or at least reach a point where I can say I don't contribute to them and 2) prepare to weather the colossal shit storm that is (probably) inevitable.

Like my friend Jay says, it's probably a good time to get used to being poor. So this has to do with the 2nd point above. Living on a boat, owning no car, and living relatively simply is a good first step toward being prepared for shitty economic times. My cost of living is simply a small fraction of what my cohorts in the software industry are used to.

One of my biggest frustrations is the attitude of Green-Aware folks here in Seattle. And that attitude is this: Let's all keep up our ways of living (ie, large houses, cars, flights to Europe, food from Chile, etc) and we'll invent our way out of this. We'll just rely on technology to, for instance, create a car which is powered from some new energy source. And this will create green jobs! And this will create a new economy! And we'll export this technology to other countries and become a global leader in a new Green Economy. Nowhere in all of this euphoria is any mention of cutting back. Nobody wants to ride a bike, nobody wants to get sweaty, and nobody wants to stop traveling to Europe.

No comments: