Water Wars

I believe that water > oil.

But we live in a economic system, Capitalism, that values oil > water.

Now of course you could argue that that's not really true, that any sane individual, even the CEO of the biggest gas/oil firm on the planet, would choose water over oil if given the choice. After all, you can live without oil; you can't live without water.

But what happens when you take the choice away from individuals, and give it to The State? Or, The Corporation? Or, the Shareholders?

In a competitive system, certain choices are removed from the equation. A company must continually reduce costs or grow revenue or innovate or become more efficient if it wants to stay solvent.

I hear the phrase 'continuous improvement' around my work quite a bit. Kaizen, in Japanese. We must continuously improve to remain competitive. We must continually adapt to fluctuations in the market and technological progress.

So what am I getting at here? My point is that there's the hyper competitive economy that modern techno-Capitalism has wrought is fundamentally at odds with the common sense, ecological-primacy decisions we would normally make as individuals.

The effect of this inherent conflict is that we are destroying the planet collectively, even if we all want to save it individually. That's why everyone feels so helpless when confronted with the abysmal forecast the vast majority of climate scientists are providing.

We react in different ways to these warnings. Some of us deny them entirely; they are simply too much to bear. Others claim that the messages are coming from false prophets whom are simply trying to profit from their doomsaying. No doubt, some are, but most are simply giving us ample warning of what is to come. Many of us are trying to make changes to our lifestyles to reduce our eco footprint, though it remains to be seen how impactful these will be.

It's hard to come to terms with how staggeringly wasteful we are as a country. It doesn't feel like my lifestyle would cause we, as Americans, to use 25% of the worlds energy when we're only 5% of the global population.

But it does. We use more and spend more and throw away more than just about every other country. It has to change.


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