Fix the System

The poltical system of the USA is facing major issues of which the average citizen is unaware. The power to fix these issues lies solely in the hands of the public.

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Location: Peabody, Massachusetts, United States

Thursday, September 11, 2008

True Costs

Part of the problem with our culture of elaborate wastefulness is that people generally are truly unaware of the damage they do to the environment just by being an average American. They see what they do directly, but they don't understand all of the hidden costs. We really need better education and information to show people what our lifestyles cost.

I have been contemplating an idea for a web site for quite some time (don't have the time to build it myself, unfortunately) that would take our every-day, mundane activities, and look into ALL of the costs as deeply as possible. For instance, take watching an hour of TV. An average person might consider the cost of the television in the store, their cable bill and their electric bill. If you start digging deeper into each of these, there is a lot of interesting information that people generally do not think about: How much carbon is produced by the power station to generate the electricity to power my television? How much land is mined to produce the fuel to burn to generate that power? How much fuel is used in the transportation of those natural resources? What kind of other byproducts are there to this production of energy? How many people are involved in getting that electricity to me? What about the power infrastructure? What about the resources and byproducts of building the television? How long will it last? How long will it take to decompose if it is put in a landfill? What about the production of the TV shows? The questions are almost endless.

The trick is to do this accurately, and communicate it clearly to the web site visitors. Ideally, I would want to let them change some of the variables to personalize it for themselves to help drive it even closer to home. If you could really get this kind of information to people and give them tools to reduce their impact, it could make a big difference.

Knowledge is power. Knowledge in the hands of the masses is power for revolution.

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