Mitigation is the early strategy, while adaptation is the later strategy. Prevention verse cure.
Our species has a terrible track record for identifying long term risk and affording it the necessary preventative measures.
We’re always looking for the cure, or more accurately, the quick fix.
We may lament the lack of political will or the token gestures of industry, but ultimately, we have our own footprint, vote and wallet. No-one is beyond blame for inaction.
Avenues of adaptation
So, to speak of meaningful adaptation, there is only efficiency, which in turn starts to address mitigation also.
We will need to either practice high autonomy (ie. self-sufficiency) or high communal living in retrofitted cities to promote greater interaction to compensate less personal space. These, or a combination of the two – something like a self-sufficient town.
The alternative; low autonomy and low communal living – suburbia – will buckle under economic pressures in coming decades. It isn’t made with any flexibility, easy access to jobs, goods or services and is largely a heat trap. Most houses there are made to large a single generation.
Given the price trends and general design focus of inner-city areas in Australia, it’s unlikely that a lot of us will be able to take the highly communal living approach in the near future.
Likewise, as much as I would jump at the opportunity to work with a group of people to invest and develop a sustainable village, finding enough people in the same part of the world to make it possible is very difficult.
For much of us, the only avenue that is any way achievable is autonomy.
Autonomous footprint, vote and wallet
This is the primary focus that I wish to take NewAnthro on. It is the story of my life for the last few years so far.
I have been exploring food production within my cool Victorian climate, with some success. While my garden only compliments our grocery needs, each week is a little better than the last.
I’ve also been building solar panels and found them to be fairly straightforward. In both the cases of my panels and my garden, being currently stuck in a rental property, I have some significant limitations in what I can achieve.
Then there is “up-cycling”. I hate buzz words generally, but the principle is great and one that I think appeals to anyone who (like myself) is forever spotting things that could be useful in later projects.
The difference between hoarding and up-cycling is actually doing something with this material more than storage. I plan to give some project examples along the way.
My ultimate goal is to be in a position to hit the ground running as soon as I can buy some space.
Two birds, one stone
All that I am working towards is aimed towards buttressing my life, so that it will be more resilient, prosperous and better suited to my personal views and ethics. It will be adaptation.
Yet, as efficiency is at the heart of what I will do, it will be, on a very small scale, mitigation as well.
I might try to find case studies of people who downsized to make the best of life in a highly liveable city as well. I’m confident that this is just as viable, but sadly in short supply.
If any topic, or idea has sat with you and left you thinking, “I wonder if…” please feel free to let me know. I’m always happy to research, test and write on whatever interests my readers and can assist us to reduce our footprint and live more align to our ethics.
2 thoughts on “Going it alone: taking personal ethics to make personal changes in a changing world”
Good for you for taking a proactive approach.
My own actions have been limited to trying to minimise my own footprint, and doing what I can to spread the word — without trying to obsess about it (there’s only so much one can do, and trying to do too much is, for me at least, definitely counter-productive).
Hope you’re well.
PS Dwight Towers has been silent of late. Do you know anything?
You might find this book interesting: The handbook; surviving and living with climate change by Jane Rawson & James Whitmore – it is Australian, and by the former and current environment editors at The Conversation. It is good to be aware of your own footprint, but I do think significant change needs us to work with others and lobby our politicians and businesses, as one’s own footprint is only a drop in the ocean. That is why I’m on a community solar committee seeking to get larger solar projects happening locally, running an energy efficiency program at my school, and I’m also promoting electric cars. Cooperating with others with the same beliefs is also heartening. I recently went to the first Solar Citizens conference in Brisbane, and meeting others with the same concerns was inspiring. Best wishes on your journey.