[Marxism] Less Energy

Barry Brooks durable at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 25 08:07:30 MST 2006

The following is from the editor of "Synthesis/Regeneration," 
a magazine of green social thought.

What's the best way to save energy? Think of a couple 
of more ways and write all three down and then read 
the rest of this. 

Are the ideas that you thought of things that 
individuals do like turning your thermostat down or 
riding a bicycle instead of driving? Or, were they 
social policy ideas, like taxing food transported over 
100 miles or requiring homes to be constructed as part 
of adjoining housing units? 

Chances are, at least 2 of your 3 ideas were 
individual choices and not social policy. It is very 
difficult to break out of the mindset that individual 
choices are the way to conserve energy. But break out 
we must if we are going to significantly lower energy 
consumption. It's no accident that corporate media 
hypes the individual choice type of thinking. It lets 
big business off the hook. By blaming individuals for 
over­consumption, it ignores social factors that 
severely limit our options. 

We are told endlessly that Americans love their cars. 
Many people would choose mass transportation but live 
in a city where that would mean spending over an hour 
getting to work. In St. Louis years ago there was a 
conscious corporate decision to destroy public 

When the "Call for Papers" for this issue of SIR went 
out, it invited " ... submissions that go beyond 
individual sacrifice and explore structural changes 
that would massively reduce the use of energy." 
Nevertheless, at least a third of submissions focused 
on voluntary life-style changes. Propaganda promoting 
energy reduction based on individual acts is so 
powerful that even when asked "What can a society do?" 
many authors still tend to answer in terms of personal 

So, S/R is repeating its call for articles on "Less 
Energy." S/R would like to receive more articles 
exploring a massive (80% or more) reduction in energy 
which focus on themes such as ... 

What would be the ecological and social consequences 
of failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at 
least 80%? 

Could current levels of production be maintained by 
switching to renewable energy? 

How could the US reduce energy consumption in 
agriculture by 80%? 

How can construction of homes and other buildings be 
80% more energy efficient? 

How can energy consumed in transportation be cut by 

How can health care be redesigned for an 80% reduction 
in energy? 	- 

How would economies of scale affect efforts to reduce 
energy usage in basic industry? What is the most 
energy that could be saved by limiting or eliminating 
the military-nuclear complex? 

What changes in living and work would be necessary for 
a massive reduction in energy? 

What sort of political. moral and spiritual revolution 
would be required to attain an 80% reduction in energy 
production and use? 

If you would like to address any of these or related 
themes, send a 2 or 3 sentence description of what you 
plan to cover to fitzdon at aol.com. Send your 500 to 
2500 word article by June 1,2007. 


S/R published my article, "Wealth or Consumption," in 
the winter 2007 issue.


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