Letter: We’ve squandered 50 years of ‘sustainability’

The three dominant schools on “the environment”: A) Best left in the hands of God and free markets. B) Bumpy ride, but with enough electrification and weather stripping (same lifestyles, more “green tech”) we’ll muddle through.  C) Our goose is cooked.

Because “A” and “B” were never reasonable, and for 50 years we’ve acted as if they were, we’re pretty well locked into “C.” At such a moment, it’s not easy to find joy in the Chico City Council’s nod to a “Climate Action Plan” — that is, more of the “B” type “action” promoted by Mark Stemen, et al.

As I recently mentioned to the city council, we Americans use five Earths per capita. To get to a position of “sustainability,” we need an 80% cut in resource consumption. Is the answer another charging station for 5,000 pound Teslas?  Rechargeable mowers on the greens of Bidwell Golf Course?  Oddly, those most passionate about more bike trails (though not the most ridiculous idea) are often the same affluent, eco-sentimentalists most likely to dream of beginning the next French holiday after parking a 5,000 pound Tesla at a commercially retreaded Chico airfield — complete with charging stations!

We’ve squandered 50 years, failing to engage in a meaningful conversation concerning Earth-killing excesses in how we eat (see “GHGs MEAT”), excesses in how we house ourselves (too BIG), excesses in how we transport everything, including ourselves (too MUCH), excesses in how we amuse ourselves (way too ENERGY INTENSIVE).  That’s nothing to celebrate.

— Patrick Newman, Chico

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