Sustainability and Green Economics
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To make consumers aware of the total cost of consumption - taking all the intermediate life cycle costs into account - is a mammoth task, but it’s necessary to satisfy the psyche of cause and effect, and to bring home the notion that every action has, to some extent, some effect on the environment. Perhaps this should be done using an ‘entropy currency’, which eliminates or discounts the cost/scarcity bias effect and shows the true effect of our consumption on the natural order – for instance the total cost of the energy from a gallon of gas wouldn’t be all that much more than that of, say, that coming from a solar PV cell; however the increase in entropy in the case of burning fossil fuels is a few factors higher. For now, the measurement of successful transition to sustainable living will come from the anecdotes of people changing the way they live: being as humble to the squirrel in the backyard as they are to the Wall Street CEO, to nurture the rose bush in the garden as much as that of their stock portfolio, and to revere the glory of the sunshine as much as the glory of their bank balance. We are indeed capable of changing our lifestyles to adopt sustainable practices, but there probably aren’t enough incentives for the masses to do so. But if you’ve read this article and think it’s a good idea to become a sustainability practitioner, why not start straight away – and spread the word among a few of your peers. You just won’t be getting paid for it. Sometimes having a deep understanding of the question is the closest we’ll ever get to the answer.