We don’t tend to give a 4 year old a 10 pound bag of candy and say “now, don’t eat them all at once”. If we did, we’d have a pretty sick child on our hands soon after. We ration that candy; it’s a privilege, not a right – and we don’t do it to be mean, we do it for the good of our child.
I’m starting to think that perhaps the same needs to happen with resources such as water, electricity and oil… right now and globally.
Our grandparents went through rationing in World War 2. In some countries it was more severe and for longer than others. Rationing of some items in Britain, including meat, was in place right up until 1954 (WWII ended in 1945).
While I’m sure the severe rationing wasn’t pleasant; those people survived it and many of them people have maintained a ration mentality since.
If you’re stranded on a desert island with only a few ration packs, you don’t consume them all at once – you space them out to give you the best possible chance of survival.
I think that’s where we’re at now with this planet. Depending on where you live, supplies of certain resources we’ve come to consider as rights are seriously threatened because we haven’t learned how to pace our consumption. Instead of limiting our consumption to a comfortable, but relatively frugal level, we instead go to war to get more or destroy more of the environment without fixing what we’ve already wrecked.
It’s important for us to remember that as humans, between humans, we do have rights; but when it comes to nature – it owes us nothing. Nature sets the rules, we simply must follow them. Nature is the parent.
Perhaps if we were all limited to the amount of non-renewable sourced electricity and fuel we consumed; we’d be more careful with it and we’d demand renewable alternatives even more.
Why wait for a situation where rationing has to be introduced because there’s next to nothing left or global temperatures have risen much further, why not do it now? Maybe then manufacturers would see economy and sustainability as being the centerpiece of all they do. The car makers would very quickly have to churn out vehicles that sipped fuel or used alternate, renewable fuel sources. The less of everything we used, the less carbon dioxide generated in production, the slower our planet will warm. We need to give nature time to adjust to the warming we’ve already generated that will continue to affect the planet for centuries to come.
The same goes for water. We really only *need* a piddling amount of it each day (excuse the pun), but on average we consume 10, 20, 30 times what we need. If there were tight restrictions on what a household could use; we’d all be more conscious of how we utilized this giver and sustainer of life. In the state where I live, which is the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on this planet, we are still at only level 3 water restrictions; yet we’re in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record. Our water restriction stages in Australia go right up to a level 8 scenario.
Through global rationing, we could also help ensure that our some of our trimmed excesses go to impoverished countries. *No-one* should have to starve on this planet at this point in human history; it’s ridiculous.
Sure, some may feel that such rationing would be a deprivation of liberty and freedom of choice; but those concepts are only useful if you have a habitable environment in which to exercise them. Our many freedoms have brought us to we are today – on the brink of disaster.
Still, I know it’s a pipe dream to expect countries to band together to make this happen. It’s really up to us as individuals.
For all our good intentions though, many of us still struggle in our efforts to conserve, preserve and protect our environment. I know I certainly do – and although we’re adults in the human race, we are merely very young children of a much older and wiser planet with much to learn.
We weren’t given a 10 pound bag of candy; we stole it.