Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thinking Beyond Yourself: A Lesson in Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive philosophies in ethics. It is the belief and doctrine that a morally good action is one that helps the greatest number of people.  It is the idea of every time you make a decision, the only influence of your choice is whatever benefits the most people.  There is a sense of thinking beyond your own personal gain in utilitarianism.  There is a beauty in subtracting your own emotion and inherent selfishness out of decisions. In no way am I telling anyone to drop whatever moral code they live by and become utilitarian, but I do pose a suggestion to become an ecological utilitarian.
Credit Manhattan Edu
(1908: Utilitarian-minded movement developed, centered on practical aspects of urban growth. San Diego)
A common question that I get when describing regenerative economics is “How can I create global change when I am just one person? “.  The response to this question is critical. I have to try to influence this person into a lifestyle change with an elevator pitch.  It is easy to tell people to buy energy efficient light bulbs, recycle, reuse, drive less, and so forth, but I think we need to focus on the why of these suggestions. It goes beyond telling to join the movement in saving the planet. It goes beyond your own personal gains.  Here are some of my brief talking points when presenting this argument:
  •       Committing to an earth-wise lifestyle is not easy. There will be a little bit more work in your day-to-day activities.
  •       Think beyond yourself. You may have to make sacrifices, and they might not always be easy, but they are the greater good of mankind.

       I am not asking anyone to change their entire lifestyle or moral compass, but I am asking you to think about the greater good of society the next time you buy light bulbs or choose between driving your car or riding the bus. I ask that when you come to a crossroads between choices in which may have a positive or negative ecological outcome, please choose the positive action.
 A lifestyle of ecological utilitarianism may not always be easy, but it is a small sacrifice for the greater good of the world. 

      A more in-depth explanation of utilitarianism here

One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I’m a strong believer in the popular saying “one picture is worth a thousand words”. This idiom refers to the notion that an image of a subject conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a description does. When it comes to the environment or regenerative economy, utilizing images or adds to raise awareness about our actions and how they impact the environment (with the least amount of words, or sometimes, no words) may interest people of all ages and backgrounds about the subject, without overwhelming them with ambiguous and complicated jargon which they may or may not know about. Here are some of the images that I have found very creative and compelling.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Small Steps to a More Sustainable World

Small Steps to a More Sustainable World

On September 22 2015 Paris France decided it was going to institute a citywide car free day.  It was a success you can read about it here:

Now what can we do with this information? Do you think we could institute a citywide car free day in our most polluting cities in the United States? What kind of impact would it have on our CO2 emissions nationwide? Well  the blog green is my thing  has already done the math for us:

          254 million Approximate number of cars/light trucks registered in the U.S.
          36.92 Approximate number of miles driven by the average U.S. car per day
          24.1 Approximate fuel efficiency of the average U.S. car/light truck (in miles per gallon)
          0.008887 Approximate number of metric tons CO2 emitted by one gallon of gasoline

So, when we do the math…
[(254,000,000*36.92)/24.1]/.008887=3,458,068 metric tons of CO2

So, if everyone in the U.S. stopped driving for a day, theoretically we would prevent approximately 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. Not bad!

What could potentially be achieved if we instituted one of these days every month in every major polluting city in the world? How easily would we be able to reduce the amount of emissions annually with a simple ban once a month?

Using Other Forms of Energy: The Rise of Solar Panel Installations

Using Other Forms of Energy: The Rise of Solar Panel Installations

Another huge part of regenerative economics is to use the already existing resources that don’t negatively impact the planet, but are cleaning offered up by our planet. A few of these include the use of wind energy and solar energy. The great news is that Solar energy and the use of solar panel installations is on the rise in the U.S. This is fantastic news, much of which is the direct result of incentives that certain states are giving their citizens that harness this clean form of energy. According to Glenn Meyers and the data he has collected in solar energy;

“1. Annual count of solar panel installs has increased to nearly 80K in just two decades

2. California counts the most solar panel installations, with almost 300,000

3. California, Texas, and Colorado offer the most incentives for rooftop solar

4. California, New Jersey, and Arizona have the most installs per incentive

All four of these findings are the result of a positive move forward: the more reusable energy that we collect and use, the less non-sustainable energy that is being collected and used. Although this is just a small step toward a solution it shows great promise.

Glenn Meyers entry on planetsave can be found here: