Efficiency is good, conservation is better

In the article Why alternative energy sources such as biofuels, solar, and nuclear are not the magic ticket, Michael Grunwald from Time Magazine challenges the notion that if we invest enough in alternative energies we can reduce emissions enough to reverse climate change. His main argument is that the cheapest and most effective way to reduce emissions is to improve efficiency of our tools and gadgets. And how about simply using them less?

It wouldn’t kill you to turn down the heat and put on a sweater. Efficiency is a miracle drug, but conservation is even better; a Prius saves gas, but a Prius sitting in the driveway while you ride your bike uses no gas. Even energy-efficient dryers use more power than clotheslines.

Michael Grunwald | Foreign Policy

I believe we have stop thinking that we are not looking at small changes. Especially, if we want to offer a decent future to billions of poor people, we have to start accepting that drastic changes to our lifestyles are needed.

Planned change or rebuilding from scratch?

The following is not only true for the US food system:

The American food system rests on an unstable foundation of massive fossil fuel inputs. It must be reinvented in the face of declining fuel stocks. The new food system will use less energy, and the energy it uses will come from renewable sources. We can begin the transition to the new system immediately through a process of planned, graduated, rapid change. The unplanned alternative-reconstruction from scratch after collapse-would be chaotic and tragic.

via REPORT: The Food and Farming Transition | Post Carbon Institute.

A commentary on the report was published on Treehugger:

While the report clearly articulates the trouble confronting a food system that has developed an addition to cheap oil, it also intelligently details what the US can do to survive when the drug is withdrawn, as it soon will be.

The full report can be found here.