Sunday, April 24, 2005
Heather and smog overlooking San Francisco
I don't love Earth Day. I'm enough of an organizer that I expect calls for collective action to be pointed at a "target" whose actions can be changed so as to improve social conditions. Earth Day doesn't fit that model. Though I can easily, daily, envision many ways that our human created social arrangements are making the planet unlivable, I don't feel Earth Day does much to help us come to grips with that. I suspect the observance of being a corporate shell game, distracting us from environmental rape.
As well, in general, I don't believe in personal solutions to social problems. Yes, we are all responsible -- but the systemic configurations that create social havoc are so much more significant in causing misery and degredation that I usually think our personal efforts to conform our lives to visions of sustainability and justice just confirm our powerlessness.
But, but, but -- it doesn't hurt to confront the facts. So I want to share this interactive quiz that will show you how many Earths it would take to sustain your everyday level of consumption if the same standard of living were available to all people (presumably without technological advances as yet unknown.) My lifestyle, which I think of as relatively simple, would require 5.4 Earths to sustain, if all humans were able to live as I do. (For some information on how the quiz calculates these matters, go here.)
Thanks to Ethan Vesely-Flad of The Witness for pointing me to this quiz.