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Addiction and Climate Change

Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Ecology | 0 comments

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One can get really confused about the term addiction(1). In the original sense an addict was someone who used psychoactive substances. Alcoholism was once considered a disease and not an addiction. Although in fact it is also an addiction. The term addiction has become much broader now. Today, it seems, everyone is addicted to something. There is the workaholic. Obesity is a form of addiction to food. Gambling is an addiction as well. Promiscuity is today regarded as sex addiction. Even watching television, computers and the Internet have the power of addiction over some people. There are many more forms of addiction, which are not listed here.
How to define addiction?
Addiction is to seek a moment of intense pleasure with the help of chemicals or technology and the price is the loss of independence. And in many cases, such as Heroin addiction, physical suffering becomes inevitable, when the stuff is not available. The addict will do almost everything to avoid the suffering, for this the addict will steal, lie and what not. Nothing is as important as to satisfy the craving, instantly without consideration for the need of society or his/her own well being. Most of the addicts will give up on a healthy life and chose social isolation for their habit. Their habit and the life style involved to satify it, becomes paramount to anything else.
The French writer Simone Weil (03.02.1909 – 24.08.1943 (2) once said: All sins are an attempt to fill voids. It makes even more sense, if one changes the sins to addiction.
All this might be very interesting, but what is the connection between Climate Change and addiction? Our present culture, our way of life simply resembles a junky. The instant satisfaction of all our craving seems to be paramount to all other considerations. Our society is, just for instance, dependent on cars. Albeit everyone, should, know, that the era of the cars is about to end. The demand for resources, energy and space for the sake of cars is too much. World population will grow in the next 40 years to 9 billion people. Will every person at the age of 18 be able to keep a car or will the masses be transported differently? It is not just an economical problem but also a psychological one. The economical problem is, that if cars are not produced anymore, many million people will lose their jobs. The economies of the U.S.A., Europe, Japan and South Korea are based largely on the automobile industries.
The psychological component of the problem is, that the driver of a car is feeling like th toddler which is moved in the stroller without effort. The child is not aware that it might be an effort for the person pushing the stroller. The baby just enjoys the ride in his very private space. The car can also be compared to a palanquin and it is also called in the English speaking countries sedan. One is moving without doing to much. Once slaves carried the litter, today an engine does the job. Interestingly, the size of the car is more a status symbol than an necessity to move from point A to point B. One sits in  comfort in the traffic jams and the speed limits of big cars are rarely reaches. But it demands respect from the owners of lesser cars, or so we believe. if you tell a car owner that cars are harmful to the well being of nature and taht we have to find a different approach how to transport people, you will many times encounter a rather aggressive denial. Just as a heroin addict will insist in a violent manner to such a proposal. Tell a excessivee meat eater to cut down on his meat consumption, tell him, or her, that a vegan diet is much more consistent with a healthy nature and wait for the reaction. Mostly the reaction can be described as irrational.
It is clear that our, 1. World, way of live provides us with much pleasure at the expense of a balanced nature. Just as the addict suffers while on detoxication, Climate Change can be compared to the detoxication. If we know that a Climate Change might happen and we don’t do anything against it, it is the same irrational behaviour as an addict who knows that his way of living is harmful to himself!

Further reading:

1. Addiction
2. Simone Weil

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