Why bother? + couple of random pics taken in Christiania…

Gemma sent me the link to a very good article by Micheal Pollan, published last april on the NY Times. Pollan tries to understand if it’s worth it to even bother taking small steps towards a more environmentally friendly life-style, when the world seems to be heading towards the opposite direction. Does changing light bulbs in our house make any difference? Or biking to work and not eating meat? At a first glance the global warming situation and our dependency on cheap fuel seems hopeless. But Pollan is positive about a number of changes we can do to have a different life-style, and how that can positively affect our lives.

“Whatever we can do as individuals to change the way we live at this suddenly very late date does seem utterly inadequate to the challenge. It’s hard to argue with Michael Specter, in a recent New Yorker piece on carbon footprints, when he says: “Personal choices, no matter how virtuous [N.B.!], cannot do enough. It will also take laws and money.” So it will. Yet it is no less accurate or hardheaded to say that laws and money cannot do enough, either; that it will also take profound changes in the way we live. Why? Because the climate-change crisis is at its very bottom a crisis of lifestyle — of character, even. The Big Problem is nothing more or less than the sum total of countless little everyday choices, most of them made by us (consumer spending represents 70 percent of our economy), and most of the rest of them made in the name of our needs and desires and preferences.”

I found very interesting the connection between cheap fuel and the specialization which is at the base of the way our economical and social order is determined:

“Here’s the point: Cheap energy, which gives us climate change, fosters precisely the mentality that makes dealing with climate change in our own lives seem impossibly difficult. Specialists ourselves, we can no longer imagine anyone but an expert, or anything but a new technology or law, solving our problems. Al Gore asks us to change the light bulbs because he probably can’t imagine us doing anything much more challenging, like, say, growing some portion of our own food. We can’t imagine it, either, which is probably why we prefer to cross our fingers and talk about the promise of ethanol and nuclear power — new liquids and electrons to power the same old cars and houses and lives.”

Taking steps to make each one’s life more sustainable can start a sort of positive viral change. (I can actually see how here in DK people are more “environmentally aware” in general, at least compared to the average Italian, and that is just part of the culture, so all the new immigrants – like me – are more likely to adapt to this different life-style that is definitely “greener” ( mmh, I hate the word greener! ).

“What I’m describing (imagining would probably be more accurate) is a process of viral social change, and change of this kind, which is nonlinear, is never something anyone can plan or predict or count on. Who knows, maybe the virus will reach all the way to Chongqing and infect my Chinese evil twin. Or not. Maybe going green will prove a passing fad and will lose steam after a few years, just as it did in the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan took down Jimmy Carter’s solar panels from the roof of the White House.”

The best way to experience a different life-style here in KPH is certainly to spend a day Christiania, even better during the annual open house day. Don’t just stop at the main touristy area (Pusher Street), go explore the houses by the canal. Living there definitely looks appealing! We hope it will last.


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