[Coral-List] carbon offsetting AND slowing down

Emma Lassiter emmalassiter at gmail.com
Thu May 16 17:17:33 UTC 2019

I appreciate this discussion - thank you.

Yes, individual contributions to carbon emissions are each a drop in the
ocean, whether for the pleasure of relaxation or the pleasure of a
satisfying career. As someone on the periphery of this community, I would
emphasize that being seen to own that drop is absolutely important if the
community wishes to be a strong voice for changing societal behaviors.

And perhaps the framing can be less about self-sacrifice and more about
slowing down. I think Franziska raised a great point there.

Here's an individual example of a common story we're all probably familiar
with: in the coral atolls of Yap State, Micronesia, people lived self
sufficiently for centuries, developing a complex system of management for
their limited resources. It is striking when spending time there as a
westerner, how slowly everything moves, from conversation to daily
activities. They now have problems with their fish and reefs, partly driven
by the speeding up that has come with motor boats replacing canoes, spear
guns replacing spears, and other efficiencies. It got me thinking about
just doing less as a way of having less impact. (I'm not suggesting a
return to "Eden" as a practical or even desirable solution).

A few years ago I came across a book called "Prosperity without Growth",
and the idea has stuck with me. It's anathema to economic orthodoxy, but
economic orthodoxy does not contemplate a finite planet. I see the
relentless push for growth not only in private industry, but also in
science - when do more studies, more grants, more publications, more
journals, more conferences become less helpful than taking more time over
work, moving more slowly, reflecting more? How about the carbon footprint
of internet use

Jim, that's a cool idea. Another example of slowing down. In the
Pacific, Okeanos
Foundation <https://okeanos-foundation.org/>has gorgeous traditional/modern
wind, sun and coconut biofuel powered sailing canoes.

Here's another thought - why not hold a conference every second year,
instead of every year? And take more time in the intervening year for
planning and reflection.

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