Sapoty Brook wrote an excellent letter (Echonetdaily, November 26) about things we all can do to prevent the Greenhouse Effect. Unfortunately, I think it is a pretty safe bet that nothing major will be done.
There are two reasons for this opinion. The first is that often people cannot change their ways. For example, I overheard a woman working in a shop in town saying she lived in Ballina. This means she burns about 70km worth of petrol round trip every working day. But how free is she to change, even assuming she wants to?
It’s difficult and expensive to sell your house and buy another, or even to change houses if you are renting. Besides, Byron Bay is probably too expensive. Like almost every other commuter, she works in a place where it is very expensive to live. Public transport (if available) can help, but even trains and buses use fossil fuels.
The other reason is people’s spending habits. Most people spend all the money they can now, and make no provision for the future. You have only to look at the history of credit cards to see that.
Suppose a political party does try to do something to prevent the Greenhouse Effect, such as raising electricity rates to pay for future developments in solar or wind power. Most people cannot see past the rising rates. The party will simply be voted out of office.
So my prediction is that nothing major is going to be done about the Greenhouse Effect. People will go along ignoring the future until some calamity comes along, like flooded coastal cities or huge hurricanes. A few people will do small things, like the ones Sapoty Brook suggests, but these will be more than cancelled out by rising population. I hope I’m wrong.
Charles MacFarland, Ewingsdale