My family lives in a farmhouse that was built 99 years ago. Our brand-new smart power meter, on the other hand, was installed just a couple of weeks ago. Now we can track how much electricity we’re using and when we’re using it.
Prompted by a constant stream of green marketing, lots of people are making well-intentioned choices, convinced that they’re doing their part. But the thing is, saving the planet isn’t going to be easy, cheap, or convenient. For all the success of environmentalism as an ideology, the tough work remains undone, and the meaningful sacrifices remain unmade. Has anybody noticed that today, three years after climate change became a ready topic of dinner-party conversation, gasoline is still only $3 a gallon?
Four years ago, a landmark British report on the economics of global warming called climate change a “market failure on the greatest scale the world has seen.” At the end of the year, the UN is going to hold another big climate meeting in Mexico, where negotiators will try to salvage what consensus they can out of last year’s Copenhagen summit. The fear is that once again, nothing much will get done. As for me, I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can figure out how to work the smart meter.