Less is more (reductions)
I happened to walk past the Denmark Climate Consortium “Global Platform – Multiple Solutions” in the main atrium directly after attending a session on indigenous people’s views on climate change and its solutions. On a screen in the area, video of industrial agriculture and solar panels on cookie-cutter houses played to futuristic music. I noted the stark difference in these perceived solutions to climate change – which were all developed in the industrialized nations – and those offered by the indigenous panelists, such as Patricia Cochran, an Inupiat Eskimo from Alaska, who mentioned that many of her people are switching back from snowmobiles to dogsleds, because dogs won’t try to cross thin ice, but snowmobiles will. That’s a great example of a low-carbon mitigation/adaptation project (“mitdaptation”? “adaptigation”?).
Why aren’t we discussing more low-tech projects like this? Why is it that industrialized countries seem to think the answer to climate change is industrialization? Shiny new gadgets often require large amounts of energy and mined metals to manufacture and transport, and once the life-cycle analysis of many “green” technologies and buildings is taken into consideration, a good chunk of the environmental benefit may be lost.
Maybe industrialized nations need capacity building from developing countries and indigenous peoples to help us make the transition to a lower-carbon society.