What can we do about it? -reply

Linda at Linda at
Wed Mar 29 21:48:02 CST 1995

Many who have been participating in this discussion of how
best to go about preserving biodiversity might be interested
in the more detailed account of alternative economic accounting
described by Herman Daly and John B. Cobb in their 1989 book:
For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community,
the Environment, and a Sustainable Future. To greatly simplify
one of their main points, we want a method of economic
accounting that gives points for increasing the standing stock
of goods (the 'good life' stuff) but takes points away for
depleting or exhausting raw materials (but not for refashioning
existing 'stuff' into other useful 'stuff').

Another one of their points is relevant here...don't mistake the
symbol (money) for the real good (food, shelter, clothing,
transportation, health care, etc.). As those who have lived through
times of scarcity will tell you, if you run out of something,
no amount of money in a bank can get it back for you. Having
lots of money gives you better access to whatever's left, it's
true, as do weapons...but just try using dollar bills to grow
food. Threatening a piece of land with an automatic rifle will
not make the corn grow faster.

Regarding the 'what to do' issue...
It is no more daunting a task to reduce consumption in this
country than it was to end apartheid in South Africa or to tear
down the Berlin Wall. All that is required is to speak and act
as though it were possible.

You CAN change things about the way you live and the way you
teach others to live. You can choose to have fewer kids. You
can repair your 'stuff' instead of throwing it away and getting
new 'stuff'. You can resolve to only have as much 'stuff' as
you can take care of or use. If you're in business, you can introduce
reuse and recylcing into every aspect of your business. You
can redesign products to use existing parts. You can compost,
grasscycle, mend clothes, talk to kids, use recycled paper,
and install energy-efficient bulbs (fluorescent or halogen) at
your home, office, church, and school.

Don't give up because it's hard and takes time!
Dr. Linda Stathoplos            Phone: 202-606-1139
NOAA, NODC, E/OC52              Fax:   202-606-4586
1825 Connecticut Ave. NW        e-mail:
Washington, DC 20235 USA        stath at argos.nodc.noaa.gov

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