That was the description of a recent article in Time Magazine, dated Feb. 14. The article was lauding the eco-friendly development in Shanghai that could be a model for China. They are now working to re-deploy the vast World Expo site as it creates a unique opportunity to design new areas to live, work and play with ecological sustainability in mind.
Noble efforts indeed; as the article says, “One of the cardinal tenets of sustainable urban development is that density is a good thing. It generates economies of scale in public transportation, smart grids and other environmentally friendly infrastructure.” Good things certainly — but not NEARLY enough. Efforts like these all over the world are more like cosmetic window-dressing as the entire “big picture” problem is simply not being addressed.
What problem? In China? How about population growth, more people driving cars and more people eating the incredibly wasteful and unsustainable western diet? In a 11-22-10 Time article called “The New Gas Guzzler,” it pointed out that China overtook the U.S. in 2009 to become the world’s largest energy user even though its per-capita energy consumption is currently only 1/5 that of the U.S. But that’s changing..with the IEA projecting that China’s automobile use will increase tenfold by 2035 and that its total energy demand will be DOUBLE that of the U.S. by then.
DOUBLE? The energy demand in the U.S. is projected to remain level during the next 25 years, while China’s will double. In other words, China will add new demand equal to the total USA consumption today.
BOTTOM LINE. With the meat & dairy portion of the typical western diet consuming 1/3 of ALL fossil fuels in the developed world, no “eco-friendly” sustainability initiative has any chance whatsoever of reversing the world’s negative cycle if it doesn’t get real serious about the extreme energy waste and environmental damage being inflicted by the unhealthy western diet.
Getting real serious means getting rid of it and replacing it with the energy friendly and environment friendly — whole foods, plant-based diet for humans. I have concluded that there is simply no other way out of this mess that we have created. As the movie HOME reported, the human race has caused more environmental damage in the last 50 years than in the entire preceding 200,000 year history of its species.
Life on earth began 4 billion years ago and we have practically destroyed it in less than a century.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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