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MrElendig t1_j6wfz2h wrote

For your example: hyperloop is silly vapourware and is not a solution to anything. As for the question: we really need both, but reducing waste and consumption is probably the single most effective tool, but it is also a tool that is a mix of technical and social parts.


npqd t1_j6whekz wrote

At the current stage - yes , culture is much more important


DisparateDan t1_j6whts2 wrote

I think the two things go hand-in-hand. Without social/cultural changes we're basically relying on technological 'magic' to make our existing lifestyles more sustainable, but the engine which drives technological advances is mostly driven by economic forces, which promote more consumption rather than less.

There are also many complex linkages between the two. For example, if society wants to discourage individual commuting by car in order to reduce the impacts of mass car ownership, society must also provide a reliable and affordable and sustainable transport alternative, which is a technical solution, or an alternative to commuting entirely, which is a social/cultural one.

Alternatives to commuting are work-from-home culture, which is mostly/typically in the realm of the private sector, or some kind of UBI.

In cases of cultural change, the alternative needs to be more palatable to the populace in order to be adopted. Given your example, if you think about the reasons for long-distance travel, how do you convince someone going on vacation who gets 2 weeks per year that it's better to take a week to arrive, or persuade an employer that it's acceptable for their employee to disappear for a week between destinations?


Mr_Mojo_Risin_83 t1_j6wi1bb wrote

Absolutely. We have the knowledge, ability and technology to combat climate change right now. But we’re not going to because it’s not profitable this quarter to do so.


urmomaisjabbathehutt t1_j6wjjqt wrote

technological changes widen what is possible so they are linked to cultural changes

something that was common in the middle ages may be considered disgusting or immoral these days because we have the means to do things differently

think how we deal these days with trah, slavery, transport...for example

in the other hand culture affect how and in what direction technology take and is used and which social policies apply so policies on how to use technology, how we work with it, etc.... affect how we live, think how we deal with work, surveillance, urban planing......

technology and culture are linked and evolve together


jfcarr t1_j6wm6eg wrote

To quote from the movie The Right Stuff...

Gordon Cooper: You know what makes this bird go up? Funding makes this bird go up.

Gus Grissom: He's right. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

Large scale technical projects almost always get funded to achieve a political goal. From that initial funding, culture will tend to take that in other directions, especially if there is enough freedom and lack of corruption in a society to allow and encourage innovation.

Politics, which includes war, is one of the biggest drivers of cultural change. Many of the 20th centuries technical innovations were driven by the wars, WWI, WWII and the Cold War. We also see innovations being driven by political currents other than war, for example, electric vehicles.

The downside is that politics is typically driven by violence or the potential of violence. This can be outright, as in full on war, or simply oppression of a disfavored or disadvantaged group. Conflicts often arise as power shifts from one group to another, typically over competition for resources.


boywithapplesauce t1_j6wrx31 wrote

Cultural change will be the key to the transition to an AI/automation-dominated, post-scarcity economy. Society will need to accept Universal Basic Income or else see civil disturbance on a global scale.

And we will need to adjust to a lifestyle where work is no longer the center of our lives. Not to mention having to live together with AI that is both uncannily human-like and inscrutably alien at the same time.


DisparateDan t1_j6wrxg1 wrote

Yeah, I think that is the point I was trying to make - bringing about a cultural shift in a group, against the perceived interests of the group rather than the group that wants/benefits from the change.

Similarly with UBI - how do you motivate a government to subsidise the cost of living in a widespread way when it's obviously a huge expenditure?


Lex-117 t1_j6wsztd wrote

Since nobody has mentioned: cultural change is what’s going to save our asses (if we‘d only would change) Currently 80% of the arable land are used for livestock feeding, while meat and dairy products account for an estimated 1/3 of the proteins and not even 20% of the calories.

We better stop eating that shit, means reduce it by 70%. Than we have space to feed more than 10 billion people and can reforestate, which captures more water and carbon than the former farm land.

But guess what? It’s not happening because all people are cowards


JerrodDRagon t1_j6wuo3m wrote

They go hand in hand

If the government breaks up monopolies then more jobs will be available and they will offer cheaper services/products affecting how much you get offered at a job/how much you pay

Mental health and education would help solve many Social issues. Many are just ignorant or their friends are too uneducated on how to help their friends become better people

It’s all connected


thisimpetus t1_j6x388z wrote

No, but they're not less important, either.

Systemic change requires, you know, the entire system to change.


his_dark_magician t1_j6x3wvf wrote

We live on a finite world and unless something about space mining lets humanity undo the last 50 years of carbon emissions and pollution, there’s no solution that will avoid global climate catastrophe. I’ve been protesting for 20 years now and IMHO some catastrophic events are probably unavoidable at this point. The world is at least looking at massive famines. If the oceans acidify, forget Ukraine, that will be WW3.

We subsidize oil and gas tremendously, which is one reason why people continue to use it to power everything. Another is that an outspoken subsection of the population sees environmentalism as a fig leaf that is used to justify raising taxes that won’t change anything. Central Massachusetts has arrays of solar panels that generate electricity for municipalities who refuse to buy it. It’s more expensive to move the electricity to Boston than it is to burn fossil fuels, so that’s what the city does.

If a sizable minority of Americans sees it as their mission to subvert climate change policy (which is what Republicans have been doing for 40-50 years now), things can and will only get worse.


Bewaretheicespiders t1_j6xjwi5 wrote

>Than we have space to feed more than 10 billion people

And then what? What are you gonna cut for the next 10 billion? The next 50 billion?

Population growth is not sustainable. There is no level on consumption low enough to support infinite people.


Winter_King_4262 t1_j6xmqg5 wrote

"make long distance travel slower and more digestable, like a cruise ship on land."

I don't see how that would work. Cruise ships are an enduring business model because even when they're not at in a port, they have the necessary space for tons of amenities to keep guests entertained.

You could never fit anything comparable on a train or a bus. Not without creating some sort of lumbering land-behemoth that would end up producing more greenhouse gases than it would save.


strvgglecity t1_j6y7fym wrote

That's only technically true. Much of the western world's emissions have simply been transferred because we moved our factories to Asia and south America. The claim that china is responsible is used by climate deniers and talking heads that don't want a real conversation, only a scapegoat that isn't their own company.


strvgglecity t1_j6ya4wq wrote

Allow me to introduce you to facts.

They are building coal plants. Which European countries also did.

BUT in terms of future planning: The share of electricity generation provided by renewables is higher in China than in the U.S., while the sheer number of solar panels and wind turbines being installed across China leaves their American rivals in the dust.


Bewaretheicespiders t1_j6yavi5 wrote

>While China leads the world in building new coal plants and accounts for around half of all the coal burned globally each year

Its about the trend. China is increasing its GHG, USA is lowering them. And yes, we should heavily tax imports from China because of this.


strvgglecity t1_j6ybugc wrote

You're completely ignoring my original comment. This is a result of the west offshoring it's factories. That's why they are building coal plants - so they can produce cheap goods for the profits of American owned manufacturers. If we kept production here, all those emissions and power plants would simply be here. There is no longer separation between nations when it comes to use of resources because so much commerce is international. As long as Americans buy things made in China, those emissions are ours too.


Bewaretheicespiders t1_j6ycj4h wrote

Texas being at 30% renewables and growing has nothing to do with offshoring factories. Yes, everyone should stop buying stuff from China, because its a horrible dictatorship destroying the planet. That doesnt erase the domestic progress.


strvgglecity t1_j6yecvh wrote

Can you acknowledge the fact I have repeatedly stated?

This isn't my opinion.

We see that the consumption-based emissions of the US are higher than production: In 2016 the two values were 5.7 billion versus 5.3 billion tonnes – a difference of 8%. This tells us that more CO2 is emitted in the production of the goods that Americans import than in those products Americans export.


F0rtysxity t1_j6ygtnd wrote

Elon Musk had a good point. He said people will shift to electronic cars en masse when electric cars are the better car.

This is how I see it. Protestant Reformation didn't happen until the printing press allowed common people to have a copy of the bible. Democracy didn't happen until the Industrial Revolution (steam engine, light bulb, telegram, machines etc) created a merchant class to rival the nobility.

People won't give up meat until there is lab gown meat to buy in the supermarket for a cheaper price. En masse.


brunogadaleta t1_j6ynika wrote

Truth is we don't yet. With the current state of knowledge, we have to put every effort to slow down our emissions and culture and technology will be needed if we want to avoid gigantic crisis. If capitalism and free market was enough to drive society in the right direction, governents wouldn't be needed and union and strikes wouldn't be needed

But on one hand what we see worldwide is greedy gigantic corporations making huge profits by destroying natural ressources and threatening all kind of regulations. And on the other hand states worker, public education and health system struggling to fulfill their role efficiently for the majority of the populations. So yes, we need to regular more.

Either we anticipate the risks of climate change, either we'll suffer it's effects. And climate change is not the only environmental problem screaming for solution: we should also consider all the others threads in the planetary boundaries like soil use, biodiversity, biogeochemical flows, freshwater use, chemical pollution,..


JaxJaxon t1_j6yvwl7 wrote

Listen to John Prine's Spanish pipe Dream song it has the answer to this question in its chorus.


mhornberger t1_j6yxo7t wrote

> thats despite an -unsustainable- population increase.

Why that is unsustainable is itself interesting. Not because we can't feed or house people, but because the fertility rate is ~1.65, well below the replacement rate. The only source of population growth is from immigration. Our main sources of immigration are from Latin America, China, and India, all of which now have fertility rates below the replacement rate. So immigration will continue for a while, but taper eventually.


mhornberger t1_j6yy8z9 wrote

> That's only technically true. Much of the western world's emissions have simply been transferred because we moved our factories to Asia

"Technically true" meaning "true, but with some caveats that bear noting." Most of China's emissions are from their own consumption. The emissions, both in the aggregate and per capita, of both Europe and the US have declined, even when accounting for trade, and are still declining. "Technically" or otherwise.


mhornberger t1_j6yz86w wrote

> This is a result of the west offshoring it's factories.

This is partly the result of offshoring. Most of China's emissions are for domestic consumption.

And they are installing renewables hand-over fist. Their emissions are still increasing (though they may be very close to plateauing) because their overall demand is increasing still faster than they can install renewables.


mhornberger t1_j6yzxjf wrote

People aren't going to get more hours in the day. So if you make travel slower, people will be less able to travel. If you want to talk about Americans vacationing to see Europe, you'd eat up a weeks or a month of time just in travel, making it impossible for everyone who wasn't independently wealthy. "Good!" is one response, but not one I think most people want to embrace. That's less "culture" and more denying people the travel and convenience they want. You're effectively denying any Americans who have to work for a living the chance for long-distance travel.


ReleaseTheZacken t1_j6zwvrp wrote

You described a train.


Realistically, Aviation & Water transport (aka Cargo/Passenger Airplanes & Cargo Ships) are already on their way toward biofuel, electric propulsion, or other sustainable upgrades. Even replacing a massive ship engine from the 70's that runs on crude oil to a 2010's one that runs on diesel has a huge environmental impact -- and more importantly, cost savings.

Trains are not popular for moving people & lighter-weight goods around, because airplanes can do it faster, & time saved is worth money. Why would you pay the same amount to take a 7 hour train ride when you could take a 1 hour plane hop?


Faster & cheaper is always going to win over environmentally friendly, because humans hate waiting & companies love money. Luckily, electric motors & hybrid systems are becoming more cost effective & many companies don't want to pay for gas when they could just pay an electricity bill.


TL;DR: People wanna go fast & are willing to pay for it. Environmental travel is becoming cheaper = more profit for companies = financial incentive to go green.


ReadBastiat t1_j70bh7f wrote

By “capitalism issues” do you mean everyone having an insanely higher standard of living than at any point in history/compared to socialist systems?


pickingnamesishard69 t1_j71cqsj wrote

nice strawman you have there.
as if walkable cities with solid public transport, green electricity, efficient heating, localized food production without wasteful feed import from burned down rainforest would be equal to go back living in caves.
I want better for everyone in a sustainable way.


strvgglecity t1_j72q1tq wrote

Only today. We are still the largest historical emitter, and we set the standard. We spent a century telling the whole world we are better, our way of life is the ideal, you should copy our capitalism and consumption, and now our right wing government blames china for following us. It's all so broken.


mhornberger t1_j72t3mw wrote

I don't think we had to persuade anyone else to want to be rich. People seem to like wealth, comfort, status goods, travel, etc.

No one blames China for dragging their people out of poverty. Conservatives are just using China as an excuse for the US to not invest more in clean energy. They aren't speaking in good faith, and never were. No one advocates for China to have remained poor, just as no one wants India to stay poor.

China's emissions will drop. Right now their emissions are increasing because their electricity demand is increasing faster than they can install renewables. But that won't continue forever, because energy demand doesn't keep going up forever. They're still in the process of pulling their people out of poverty.


strvgglecity t1_j7335w0 wrote

Yep. All true. Have to disagree with the implied optimism though. American culture is excess, not even just comfort anymore. Our economy operates on excess consumption. Capitalism requires excess, which causes obvious major environmental harm. It's not just energy, it's what we do with it. Never has a new utility been provided that people didn't use up and then require larger systems to provide. I'm confident that even if we solarized 100%of our energy needs, the very next day we would need more be a use we always use maximum capacity (which includes enormous amounts of waste at all levels).

I believe reducing individual consumption and desireto consume must be a goal. Otherwise we're just living on a finite planet pretending we have infinite resources.


mhornberger t1_j734m38 wrote

What is "excess"? Are you just devaluing people's wants as not being authentic, just because you don't think they should want them? People in Dubai, Tokyo, Beijing etc who are buying status or luxury goods are not "acting American." People just like that stuff.

Sumptuary laws have a long history, long predating capitalism. People have always passed judgment on desires of the rabble for luxury, status goods, and the like. So much that they sometimes passed laws trying to regulate it.

Regarding 'optimism,' I wasn't speculating about the future. I was pointing out something that has already happened in many rich countries. There's no reason that China would be exempt from this longstanding trend.

I think it's astounding that the US is using almost 20% less energy per person than when I was born. With BEVs and ongoing greening of the grid, that will improve yet further.

>Otherwise we're just living on a finite planet pretending we have infinite resources.

Resource use was never going to scale to infinity. Energy use plateaus. No one buys infinite blue jeans or eats infinite steaks. People like wealth, yes, but consumption does not keep spiraling upward forever. No one was under the impression that we were going to have infinite people using infinite energy per person, no more than we were going to be eating infinite gyros or infinite M&Ms.

Humans won't even last for infinite years. The sun and all the stars in the galaxy will not last for infinite years. "We can't scale x to infinity" is a given, but also not a rebuttal of anything anyone actually believes. Plus it's generally just a proxy for degrowth now, which is a different argument altogether. You don't forego building a house now just because of the truism that we can't build infinite houses.


Exact-Permission5319 t1_j7btbpq wrote

Hi Everyone - just a few things to remember

Capitalism will not sell you the tools to end capitalism.

You cannot use the language of oppression to dismantle oppression.

Technology as an extension of capitalism will only sell you technology for consumption and capitalism. This is why we have tons of fun gadgets but not sustainable renewable energy sources.

Remember that the driver behind everything is profit - not change, not improvement, not sustainability - just profit.

Think of it this way - what is the purpose of food in a capitalist system? In capitalism, the purpose of food is to make money. Food is not used to feed people, it is used to make a profit. When it is not profitable to feed people, we throw the food away. The lesson is that capitalism corrupts everything - even the most fundamental and necessary human processes.