welcome to my brand-new blog on sustainability-related issues! Thank you for the patience to have a look at my humble thoughts on our economy and lifestyle, the scarcity of natural resources and energy, the climate, and the like.
This is my first attempt at blogging. Most blogs are about people's private lives, and I've never felt the need to share mine with the world in this way. Therefore, it's worth taking a minute to note what got me started on this little project in the end.
It all began during my Christmas vacation in 2008 when I had some idle time for thinking and reading. The backdrop: two major crises on a global scale, namely climate change (or at least the debate about it), and the recession caused by the financial crisis that came after the bursting of the American real estate bubble. The German government and media were debating about measures such as dishing out "consumption vouchers" to the population or investing in highway construction in order to boost the economy.
In that situation, I read some comments on the internet about whether there aren't more sensible ways to spend public money, ways that would address the actual major problems that we're bound to face in the future. One comment had a link to a pretty pessimistic website that got me thinking. I may talk a bit more about it at a later point; for now just a very brief synopsis of the main theses presented on that site. The general idea goes like this:
"Our society and economy are heavily dependent on natural resources, most notably oil, which we're going to run out of in the not-too-distant future. When that happens, our planet won't be able to support its population any more, there'll be wars about the last remaining resources, and many people will die. 'Renewable' energies won't be enough to fix the problem. Human nature and psychology are constructed in such a way that it'll be very hard to change this development."
Now of course there's a lot more variables to the equation than that, and, as a wise man once said, "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future". Nevertheless, even the possibility that these predictions might come true is serious enough to be frightening and to command one's attention.
So, as I was wondering how worried I should be, and if there was anything I could do about it, I talked to a friend who asked me, "why don't you start a blog about it?". And here it is. So if you're asking, "why this blog?", its purpose is twofold: firstly, for my self, to try and order my thoughts a bit, and doing at least a little something by thinking out loud rather than to myself. And secondly, to act as a multiplier: If I manage to get some relevant thoughts or bits of information out to people that weren't previously aware of them, that already goes a long way. I think these issues are important enough to debate them in public, and important enough to get me started with blogging in the end.
As I am German, and some of the information in this blog may be relevant only for Germany, you may ask yourself why I'm writing in English. The reason is simply that the problems we're talking about are global, thus most of what I'm writing should be relevant beyond national boundaries, and I don't want to exclude anyone who might be interested by writing in a language that significantly fewer people understand than English.
If you know me personally, you'll know that I'm no eco-fundamentalist - I'm a regular guy who takes the plane to go on vacation and heats his apartment like anyone else. But I'm worried whether we can go on living the way we do without eventually destroying our own basis of living. So I think it's necessary to think these thoughts, even if they may be inconvenient.
An important disclaimer for now and the rest of this blog: I am no expert on most of the issues at hand. I have a university degree in physics, so when we're talking about energy, I have an understanding of what's possible and what isn't, but I'm no expert on economics, the climate, and the like. What I can offer is my common sense - it's up to you to critically reflect on what I'm writing and make up your own mind.
Finally, I'm hoping for some feedback from you. If you're interested in something I'm writing about (or should be writing about, in your opinion), let me know. If you have additional information, comments, or thoughts of your own, contribute them. If you find factual or reasoning errors, make me aware of them. With this blog being started during vacation, chances are that it'll lose momentum once work life with its demands on my time kicks back in. But with your contribution, I'm hoping to sustain it for some time.
All the best,