This week on American Public Media, CONSUMED, an excellent series about overconsumption, sustainability and how/if to reconcile the two....
Can we really expect to green-shop our way out of this mess?
Half-listening this morning while multi-tasking, I stopped in my tracks to focus, finding myself cheering silently at what I was hearing. We're burning up copious amounts of petroleum to fuel our voracious appetites for stuff - new stuff certainly don't need, flown in from all over the world.....
And the real costs for this transcends the price tag big time. Pollution, climate change, environmental degradation....how about the human costs - the thousands of lives lost to date in the war, so that we may continue our gas guzzling ways?
According to commentator Robert Frank, we need economic structures in place that demand us to pay the real price for consumer goods:
"The simplest solution would be a carbon tax that would force consumers to confront the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions. Such a tax would raise the price of fuel sharply -- stuff from distant places would become much more expensive, and most people would buy much less of it."
He seems well aware that this would hardly fly with our current admin:
"A carbon tax proposal would be dead-on-arrival in Washington. If so, our problem is not that we don't know how to make the economy sustainable. Rather, it's that we simply lack the political will."
Check out this and other stories on Consumed: is our consumer society sustainable?