What is the obsession with mediocrity? Compromise! Middling, equivocal, moderated and ultimately ineffectual solutions.

There is only so much oil under the ground, and the same goes for natural gas, coal and uranium. There are only so many rivers for hydroelectricity and the full cost accounting on renewables is harsh: even the best dream of efficient, low environmental impact solar, wind or wave power requires immense capital outlays and continual maintenance that requires energy.

Ultimately we will be living in an energy limited world, relative to today’s abundance of cheap, easy, quick energy. So why are we fiddling around incessantly with so many options that merely reduce our consumption a notch or two? More efficient cars, carpooling, rapid transit buses, trains — these all save a smidgen of energy, but only buy us a few years or a decade at best. Thinner plastics, recycling of packaging, low energy light bulbs, more efficient fridges — another basket of greenwashed habits and items that are still thoroughly unsustainable.

Living in a house bursting at the seams with people, more people keep arriving every day, you have the task of making sure everyone has a place to sleep. Rearrange the beds, bash down the sofa and make a bed of it, lay some blankets on the carpet for another few places, pop a camping mattress on top of the grand piano (tourist resort on a coral reef!) and bash up a tent in the garden. Sooner or later you’re going to run out of space, so why not deal with the problem before things get desperate. The sooner you stop letting people in the front door, the better your chances of inhabiting a pleasant home. If you leave it too late, the toilet will be clogged, the fridge bare and the grand sagging and out of tune!

The world is facing an environmental crisis that is leading to the sixth major extinction. This crisis has been caused by us having energy (and power) beyond our physical bodies — from wood, through peat and coal, to oil and nuclear power. The only likely way to stem or stop the tsunami is to use those same energy sources to reverse the destruction. So it is imperative that we stop wasting these energy sources. We cannot just reduce our consumption a notch or two to extend the hedonistic party. We need to jump to number one.

Live close to work and walk, or cycle. Ditch overseas holidays. Use teleconferencing for work. Buy unpackaged, locally grown, groceries. Less meat. Rise and go to bed with natural light as far as possible. Repair and reuse. Have one child, adopt another. Now. Just do it. Quit smoking. Be free. Unhinge yourself from the system. Crazy?

Driving two tonnes of metal and plastic several kilometres, using a litre of gasoline in the process, just to buy 20g of dried tobacco rolled in paper, to further pollute our air. Crazy! We have to stop. Jump to number one.

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