World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

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World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Levo » 2013-02-13, 10:14

It became obvious that Planet Earth cannot supply and maintain a consumption and ecological footprint as big as that of an average citizen in the industrialized world.

If everyone consumed as much energy, food, material, etc.. as a Hungarian, we needed 1.3 Planet Earths.
The US number is around 3,5.

It seems obvious that with a present population, (which is still growing), it is impossible under sustainable circumstances on Earth to:

have a car for each household
have gas-heating or other unrenewable-sourced energy-system for each
etc...

Also, prices would be higher for lots of commodities if pays world-wide were closer to "fair-trade".
Probably the present-day general comsumption of various commodities is unsustainable as well:
any goods that needs: coffee, sugar, cocoa, banana and who knows the end of the list would be way more expensive.
Or those, which were manufactured in places, where pays for the same work is uncomparably lower than in the places of its consumers: (big companies having their manufacturing in China, India, Turkey, etc...)
E.g: Most cars, computers, mobile-phones, other machinery; clothes.

How do you imagine a more-or less fair-trade, egalitarian world? Given our circumstances on Earth, how would an average person live?

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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby dorenda » 2013-02-13, 12:48

I don't know about an average person in general, but an average person in the western world, compared to the current lifestyle, would:
- live in a more energy-neutral home, where less energy is needed (better isolation, devices that use less energy) and more freely available energy is used (e.g. solar panels, wind turbine, heat pump), and which is made as much as possible from locally produced materials, as far as newly built houses are concerned;
- if energy still needs to be bought from elsewhere, use renewable energy;
- use less things that need to be thrown away after use or when broken, but instead repair, recycle and upcycle more;
- eat less meat;
- use less packaging materials;
- eat more local food;
- buy less things they don't really need;
- maybe have fewer children, depending on the country (in countries where the population is decreasing this is less of an issue).

I would hope the money spared by buying less things and energy would more or less compensate for the higher prices of some things due to fair prices being paid to their producers.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby md0 » 2013-02-13, 13:07

The Green Green manifesto is a place to start.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Sol Invictus » 2013-02-13, 13:49

dorenda wrote:- live in a more energy-neutral home, where less energy is needed (better isolation, devices that use less energy) and more freely available energy is used (e.g. solar panels, wind turbine, heat pump), and which is made as much as possible from locally produced materials, as far as newly built houses are concerned;

This is imposible, at least in my country there is not enough sun and wind, and even heat pump sellers admit it is not enough to serve as only source of energy
- use less things that need to be thrown away after use or when broken, but instead repair, recycle and upcycle more;

Hmm, wouldn't throw away stuff made of materials that can be biodegraded be more eco-friendly than more permanent stuff that doesn't?
- eat less meat;

Meat contains essential nutrients and arguably cereal grains cause as much damage
- maybe have fewer children, depending on the country (in countries where the population is decreasing this is less of an issue).

Actualy population being too large to sustain might be main issue, but countries with decreasing population aren't exactly happy about it

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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Varislintu » 2013-02-13, 14:05

I think it would also help if employees were offered better rights all over the world. It would make a lot of the dirt cheap consumables that we currently enjoy on the expense of someone else's lesser rights more expensive. I'm thinking that if it were no longer dirt cheap for companies to massproduce electrical appliances they perhaps couldn't anymore deliberately build in the poor quality that makes them break every year. :hmpf:
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby DissidentRage » 2013-02-13, 14:37

The business policy of planned obsolescence does not help things. When society became more concerned about continuous profit rather than the actual goal of an economy (to provide a means for people to have goods and services necessary for survival by creating a universal medium for trade), everything else became less important. As long as profit motive is treated as being more important than long-term survival, everyone will suffer.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Levo » 2013-02-13, 14:45

Varislintu wrote:I think it would also help if employees were offered better rights all over the world. It would make a lot of the dirt cheap consumables that we currently enjoy on the expense of someone else's lesser rights more expensive.

I really share this opinion. We talked about it live in that fancy-for-nothing restaurant in Budapest :D

To be honest, I am a bit ashamed that I came out of enjoying fair-trade products since our economy joined global standards. :/
When I was a child, I wore clothes and ate food which were either produced locally, or in another ex-socialist country, where wages for the worker of those products offered a similar living standard as that would for a Hungarian worker in the same field.
And now, it is not the truth: The clothes I am wearing (and I don't wear branded things), are mostly made by some Chinese worker, who works 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, living in 12-bedded rooms in worker's hostels and offered a wage significantly lower compared to (even) a Hungarian textile-worker.
I can't save the world, but still :P

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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2013-02-13, 14:49

Sol Invictus wrote:
- use less things that need to be thrown away after use or when broken, but instead repair, recycle and upcycle more;

Hmm, wouldn't throw away stuff made of materials that can be biodegraded be more eco-friendly than more permanent stuff that doesn't?

What about permanent stuff made of materials that can be biodegraded? I think those would be best.

- eat less meat;

Meat contains essential nutrients and arguably cereal grains cause as much damage


It's true that for example soja causes damage to nature as well, but 'essential nutrients'? There are plenty of vegetarians and they're just as healthy. But 'eat less meat' doesn't imply that everyone should become vegatarian, it would be already very good when people would only eat meat two or three times a week in stead of five or six times a week, for example.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Varislintu » 2013-02-13, 15:00

Levo wrote:To be honest, I am a bit ashamed that I came out of enjoying fair-trade products since our economy joined global standards. :/
When I was a child, I wore clothes and ate food which were either produced locally, or in another ex-socialist country, where wages for the worker of those products offered a similar living standard as that would for a Hungarian worker in the same field.


A rare good side effect of the economy at the time, in other words. Interesting!

Levo wrote:And now, it is not the truth: The clothes I am wearing (and I don't wear branded things), are mostly made by some Chinese worker, who works 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, living in 12-bedded rooms in worker's hostels and offered a wage significantly lower compared to (even) a Hungarian textile-worker.
I can't save the world, but still :P


Yeah it makes me sad, too. At least in Hungary you still have a pretty strong market culture, where you can buy locally produced things for reasonable prices directly (or almost directly) from the farmer. Here, at least here in Helsinki, it's such a niche thing and therefore more expensive.

I know that those 250g boxes of mini tomatoes from Spain that cost €1.50 were likely grown by exploited guest workers, but the Finnish ones would cost 4 euros. Out of which the Finnish farmer gets like nothing, he's probably in business only thanks to subsidies, i.e. my taxes. So what to do? It's kind of frustrating.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby BlackZ » 2013-02-13, 15:51

Varislintu wrote:I think it would also help if employees were offered better rights all over the world. It would make a lot of the dirt cheap consumables that we currently enjoy on the expense of someone else's lesser rights more expensive. I'm thinking that if it were no longer dirt cheap for companies to massproduce electrical appliances they perhaps couldn't anymore deliberately build in the poor quality that makes them break every year. :hmpf:

I agree with you. However, employers will only care about that when said practices somehow hurt their profit. As long as that doesn't happen, companies will simply not care on who's being exploited or about appliances breaking every time.

Such a thing will only happen through well coordinated collective actions. If everyone stops to buy said products and begin to buy the ones with the desired characteristics, companies will be forced to change in order to avoid loss of profits and bankruptcy.

Even then, we should take careful with two possible side effects of such a solution:
1) Products will become more expensive because it means that companies will have more costs with wages;
2) The companies could simply abandon the workers who were being exploited, leaving them unemployed and without money to survive.

DissidentRage wrote:When society became more concerned about continuous profit rather than the actual goal of an economy (to provide a means for people to have goods and services necessary for survival by creating a universal medium for trade), everything else became less important.

I'm not sure if that has ever worked differently than today because more profit means more gain of power. And power has always been a very central point in human societies.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby dorenda » 2013-02-13, 16:46

Sol Invictus wrote:
dorenda wrote:- live in a more energy-neutral home, where less energy is needed (better isolation, devices that use less energy) and more freely available energy is used (e.g. solar panels, wind turbine, heat pump), and which is made as much as possible from locally produced materials, as far as newly built houses are concerned;

This is imposible, at least in my country there is not enough sun and wind, and even heat pump sellers admit it is not enough to serve as only source of energy
Mind the word "more". If there is not enough wind and sunshine to produce all the electricity you need, it doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't produce any electricity from them at all. Also, little sunshine and wind doesn't prevent you from isolating your house, for example.

Sol Invictus wrote:
- use less things that need to be thrown away after use or when broken, but instead repair, recycle and upcycle more;

Hmm, wouldn't throw away stuff made of materials that can be biodegraded be more eco-friendly than more permanent stuff that doesn't?
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk commented on this. I'd like to add, that not only the material used needs to be taken into account, but also how much resources it takes to produce this material.

Sol Invictus wrote:
- eat less meat;

Meat contains essential nutrients and arguably cereal grains cause as much damage
See Hoogstwaarschijnlijk's reply, plus cereal grains are not the only thing that you could eat instead of (part of your) meat. :)

Sol Invictus wrote:Actualy population being too large to sustain might be main issue, but countries with decreasing population aren't exactly happy about it
I know that too few children also causes problems, but I'm sure that if we'd all want to, it would be possible to come up with some way to counter at least some of them. But I haven't really thought about that too much, and I don't know a whole lot about economy. :)

Varislintu wrote:I think it would also help if employees were offered better rights all over the world. It would make a lot of the dirt cheap consumables that we currently enjoy on the expense of someone else's lesser rights more expensive. I'm thinking that if it were no longer dirt cheap for companies to massproduce electrical appliances they perhaps couldn't anymore deliberately build in the poor quality that makes them break every year. :hmpf:
Wasn't that already included in the question? :) "How do you imagine a more-or less fair-trade, egalitarian world?"

DissidentRage wrote:The business policy of planned obsolescence does not help things.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Sol Invictus » 2013-02-13, 19:20

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:
- eat less meat;

Meat contains essential nutrients and arguably cereal grains cause as much damage


It's true that for example soja causes damage to nature as well, but 'essential nutrients'? There are plenty of vegetarians and they're just as healthy.

Okay, let me rephrase that - meat contains much more essential nutrients, if you don't eat it, you need to be carefully following your diet to make sure you get all you need from it, being on fence about it is probably more risky, because one might cut down to point where they are not getting enough from meat, but not do any research, because they think they are still eating it and don't need to be concerned
dorenda wrote:
Sol Invictus wrote:
dorenda wrote:- live in a more energy-neutral home, where less energy is needed (better isolation, devices that use less energy) and more freely available energy is used (e.g. solar panels, wind turbine, heat pump), and which is made as much as possible from locally produced materials, as far as newly built houses are concerned;

This is imposible, at least in my country there is not enough sun and wind, and even heat pump sellers admit it is not enough to serve as only source of energy
Mind the word "more". If there is not enough wind and sunshine to produce all the electricity you need, it doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't produce any electricity from them at all. Also, little sunshine and wind doesn't prevent you from isolating your house, for example.

The technology is expensive and it doesn't justify investment, don't forget that there are resources consumed to set it up and use it, if gains don't exceed them it might not be as friendly as you think.

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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Lur » 2013-02-13, 21:38

Levo wrote:It became obvious that Planet Earth cannot supply and maintain a consumption and ecological footprint as big as that of an average citizen in the industrialized world.

If everyone consumed as much energy, food, material, etc.. as a Hungarian, we needed 1.3 Planet Earths.
The US number is around 3,5.

It seems obvious that with a present population, (which is still growing), it is impossible under sustainable circumstances on Earth to:

have a car for each household
have gas-heating or other unrenewable-sourced energy-system for each
etc...

Also, prices would be higher for lots of commodities if pays world-wide were closer to "fair-trade".
Probably the present-day general comsumption of various commodities is unsustainable as well:
any goods that needs: coffee, sugar, cocoa, banana and who knows the end of the list would be way more expensive.
Or those, which were manufactured in places, where pays for the same work is uncomparably lower than in the places of its consumers: (big companies having their manufacturing in China, India, Turkey, etc...)
E.g: Most cars, computers, mobile-phones, other machinery; clothes.

How do you imagine a more-or less fair-trade, egalitarian world? Given our circumstances on Earth, how would an average person live?

Marty, you're not thinking fourth dimensionally!

There are several things that can help:
-Bioengineering. Endless possibilities.
-3D printing, and 3D organ printing. This allows you to build food.
-Molecular nanotechnology. This allows to to desintegrate things into its component atoms and reuse them for new stuff, basically anything you'd want. You could live out of your waste. It also allows for cheap and better access to space. We really really really need this. And one needs to take a while to figure out the many consequences that such a thing could have.
-Asteroid mining. Already in the works. Drops the price of rare metals in Earth by several times. A single 40 m asteroid might have more of the rare metals necesary for electronics that the amount that humanity has ever extracted on Earth.
-Solar energy in space. Double the energy, no night. You can actually simply live on it.There are studies of ways of transporting it to the surface, but... what for? In my opinion, it's better to simply be out there for several reasons, but I'll leave that for another moment.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby DissidentRage » 2013-02-14, 0:55

BlackZ wrote:I'm not sure if that has ever worked differently than today because more profit means more gain of power. And power has always been a very central point in human societies.


We can't afford to retain the concept of power by money.

Sol Invictus wrote:The technology is expensive and it doesn't justify investment, don't forget that there are resources consumed to set it up and use it, if gains don't exceed them it might not be as friendly as you think.


This is the problem. When everything boils down to the profit motive, survival becomes less a goal of our species and more a privilege of those with the most.
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Sol Invictus » 2013-02-14, 4:58

Sol Invictus wrote:The technology is expensive and it doesn't justify investment, don't forget that there are resources consumed to set it up and use it, if gains don't exceed them it might not be as friendly as you think.


This is the problem. When everything boils down to the profit motive, survival becomes less a goal of our species and more a privilege of those with the most.[/quote]
What I was saying was that there should be profit margin in terms of how much energy is spent on manufacturing the technology and how much energy is gained - if there is loss there it is not environmentally friendly. So what is the point of having supposedly Eco-friendly energy source that generates hardly anything?

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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Sol Invictus » 2013-02-14, 4:58

Sol Invictus wrote:The technology is expensive and it doesn't justify investment, don't forget that there are resources consumed to set it up and use it, if gains don't exceed them it might not be as friendly as you think.


This is the problem. When everything boils down to the profit motive, survival becomes less a goal of our species and more a privilege of those with the most.[/quote]
What I was saying was that there should be profit margin in terms of how much energy is spent on manufacturing the technology and how much energy is gained - if there is loss there it is not environmentally friendly. So what is the point of having supposedly Eco-friendly energy source that generates hardly anything?

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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby dorenda » 2013-02-14, 10:51

Sol Invictus wrote:The technology is expensive and it doesn't justify investment, don't forget that there are resources consumed to set it up and use it, if gains don't exceed them it might not be as friendly as you think.
True. Maybe in time, there will be less costly and recource-consuming solutions to produce this kind of technology. (Or maybe there already are? For example, something like this.) And otherwise it should just be used in places where it is profitable (energy- and recource-wise). The electricity can also be transported from sunnier/windier places to less sunny/windy places, right?
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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Leopejo » 2013-02-14, 12:00

dorenda wrote:And otherwise it should just be used in places where it is profitable (energy- and recource-wise).

And environmental impact-wise.

The electricity can also be transported from sunnier/windier places to less sunny/windy places, right?

Right, but with increasing losses. And the cost and impact of that transport must be accounted for too.

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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Levo » 2013-02-14, 12:36

Luke wrote:
Levo wrote:It became obvious that Planet Earth cannot supply and maintain a consumption and ecological footprint as big as that of an average citizen in the industrialized world.

If everyone consumed as much energy, food, material, etc.. as a Hungarian, we needed 1.3 Planet Earths.
The US number is around 3,5.

It seems obvious that with a present population, (which is still growing), it is impossible under sustainable circumstances on Earth to:

have a car for each household
have gas-heating or other unrenewable-sourced energy-system for each
etc...

Also, prices would be higher for lots of commodities if pays world-wide were closer to "fair-trade".
Probably the present-day general comsumption of various commodities is unsustainable as well:
any goods that needs: coffee, sugar, cocoa, banana and who knows the end of the list would be way more expensive.
Or those, which were manufactured in places, where pays for the same work is uncomparably lower than in the places of its consumers: (big companies having their manufacturing in China, India, Turkey, etc...)
E.g: Most cars, computers, mobile-phones, other machinery; clothes.

How do you imagine a more-or less fair-trade, egalitarian world? Given our circumstances on Earth, how would an average person live?

Marty, you're not thinking fourth dimensionally!

There are several things that can help:
-Bioengineering. Endless possibilities.
-3D printing, and 3D organ printing. This allows you to build food.
-Molecular nanotechnology. This allows to to desintegrate things into its component atoms and reuse them for new stuff, basically anything you'd want. You could live out of your waste. It also allows for cheap and better access to space. We really really really need this. And one needs to take a while to figure out the many consequences that such a thing could have.
-Asteroid mining. Already in the works. Drops the price of rare metals in Earth by several times. A single 40 m asteroid might have more of the rare metals necesary for electronics that the amount that humanity has ever extracted on Earth.
-Solar energy in space. Double the energy, no night. You can actually simply live on it.There are studies of ways of transporting it to the surface, but... what for? In my opinion, it's better to simply be out there for several reasons, but I'll leave that for another moment.

Marty? WHo's that?

Luke, I am pretty much into modern technologies, more than you would expect :) I know about these, but these are all still the far future. And some people are exploited right now in their present life.
A lot of things could be just re-organized today already.

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Re: World-equality, ecology, avrg consumption, living conditions

Postby Set » 2013-02-14, 13:30

Sol Invictus wrote:Okay, let me rephrase that - meat contains much more essential nutrients, if you don't eat it, you need to be carefully following your diet to make sure you get all you need from it, being on fence about it is probably more risky, because one might cut down to point where they are not getting enough from meat, but not do any research, because they think they are still eating it and don't need to be concerned


Everything you can get in meat you can get from not-meat...where do you think the animals got their nutrients from in the first place? Ok, you might have to diversify your diet a bit, but you should have a diversified diet already, relying too much on meat isn't good for the individual, let alone the planet. Also, I'd guess the reason you think it's so easy now is because, culturally and economically, there is a big push towards eating meat. If nobody had told you how to prepare and eat meat or just given it to you in a bag, you wouldn't find it so easy. If there was a cultural shift towards eating less meat then knowing how would just become one of those things that everyone knows; the recipes are already there...

Furthermore, the whole thing about growing cereal being as bad as rearing livestock...a huge fucking quantity of crop is used to feed animals - the nutrients from that then go into the meat, but not in an efficient way (i.e. they poop, they burn energy and you don't eat all the animal), so actually cutting down the amount of meat we eat would also cut down the amount of space we need for crops and would also enable a much more efficient movement of plant nutrients into our bodies.

And not eating meat isn't risky, it's just not very well facilitated by most societies. Humans can very easily live without meat.
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