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Moving toward the No-Carbon Day

When the Singularity comes and we all become robots, we’re going to need a lot of electrical energy to support ourselves. I have total faith in technology and I’m sure the turning-fossils-into-electricity dilemma will be solved long before that day. I envision photovoltaic strips riveted onto the tops of our heads or whatever uppermost structure our post human avatars are usuing. Battery technology will improve to the point where a single molecule of sulfuric acid will be enough to run an entire human hydraulic system for a year. Battery packs will be smaller than a Bluetooth and we’ll wear them like jewelry. A lip or eyebrow ring perhaps.

Until that glorious day comes, however, we’ve got to curb our runaway greenhouse effects and overusage of energy or we’ll never make it. To that end, the March issue of National Geographic had an article on reducing our individual carbon footprints. The article followed a couple of couples as they tracked their personal CO2 emissions. It was an interesting experiment and they did quite well. They lowered their hot water heater thermostats, replaced incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, walked or biked to work when possible instead of driving, and took the bus otherwise, used ceiling fans instead of AC.

All good stuff. The biggest problem one couple had was when they took a trip. They were doing well up until the point when they simply had to attend a family function. Here’s how they justified it: “I knew this trip wasn’t going to help our carbon diet any. But what was more important after all, reducing CO2 emissions or sharing a family celebration?”

The implication, of course, is that nothing supercedes family obligations. World be damned, I’ve got a reunion. They may very well be right but it points out the biggest problem we have when trying to solve our environmental crises: The world is no longer working in a logical way. We’re expected to put the family before all else, but at the same time, we’re supposed to put our jobs and careers ahead of the family. Why else do we move so far away from the family in the first place? If the family is so damned important, why don’t the family members stick together regardless of “opportunities” elsewhere?

It’s these inconsistencies in our lives and our easy acceptance of these inconsistencies that prevent us from making ecological progress. I mean, is the family important or isn’t it? If it isn’t, fine don’t make the trip, you can’t afford the cost to the environment. If it is important, then stick around, you’ll never have to travel very far and it won’t cost so much carbon-wise. In fact, don’t move out of the ancestral home at all. When needing that familial nurturing, you just walk across the hall, holler at Mom, Dad, and Sis to wake the eff up and there you are. No gas spent, no nasty CO2 added to the atmosphere. Another no-carbon day.

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