Once upon a time, I had an old American Pontiac car. It was wide, huge, almost like a limousine, instead of chairs there were sofas in it, the engine size was incredibly large, and the fuel consumption was such that it was scary to remember.
Because it was produced in America in the era of cheap oil, when no one cared about “saving gas”, it would even sound funny. Then gasoline went up, and American manufacturers were forced to think about fuel-efficient cars, and while they were thinking, the inhabitants of America moved to Japanese small cars.
Modern technologies, science, production and consumption create an unprecedented and unbearable burden on the ecosystems of our planet. But in order to reduce the burden, to harmonize the interaction of mankind and nature, it is necessary not to abandon new technologies, but to develop supernova technologies, which will be laid in a careful attitude to the environment and natural resources. Refusal to achieve scientific and technological progress, deindustrialization and other movements under the slogan “Back to the caves!” they will not help us.
Mankind goes through the same stages over and over again. First, a new technological structure is being introduced and pressure on the environment is increasing sharply. Then methods and means are sought, technologies that reduce this pressure are applied, and nature is harmonized with man. If we move not forward, but backward, then we run the risk of falling not into the gap of harmony, but into the old situation of an even greater ecological catastrophe.
When the industrial revolution began in Europe, from an environmental point of view, many regions of Europe looked like hell. Water in the rivers was poisoned by untreated sewage from manufactories and new factories growing like mushrooms. Over the cities lay a dense, suffocating smog from the smoke of enterprises and house heating. Bridge bedspreads soot.
Growing cities produced a huge amount of garbage, garbage, which they could not cope with. Agriculture, transferred to market rails, was not at all an idyllic outlet, but depleted nature worse than industry. The nature of Europe almost died, and people were sick and degenerated.
The modern pastoral landscapes of Germany, France and England are not at all preserved primitives, but the result of careful restoration of previously killed ecosystems, artificially recreated nature. Gradually, new, less dirty production technologies were introduced, cleaning systems were installed, emissions control was introduced, landscapes were restored, nature reserves and nature protection zones were established. The problem was partially solved by transferring the most dirty production to Asia, due to the operation of colonies and cryptocolonies. Now Europe looks “clean”, but many territories far from Europe, which until recently attracted tourists with pristine natural cleanliness, are polluted and littered to the utmost.
But for the “developing countries”, the solution is not to abandon industrialization and go back to hunger and poverty. And to introduce resource-saving and environmentally friendly technologies. However, these supernova technologies are expensive and complex.
Capitalism is so arranged that in order for something to develop, you need to invest money. And money is invested only when there is an opportunity in the long term to return the investment with good profit. And green technology is no exception. There are quite a lot of scientific ideas on how to set up waste-free production, how to use garbage as secondary raw materials, how to produce automobile fuel from plastic waste, how to get energy without burning petroleum products and so on. But for the idea to become a working technology, long and large-scale R&D is needed.
In recent decades, when the oil price was relatively high, research and development in the field of resource saving, “clean” production, and “green” energy sources were carried out very actively. Because oil was expensive, and all consumer sectors were interested in saving oil products, respectively, producing less emissions into the environment.
And the "green" energy developed rapidly. And non-waste full cycle technologies were introduced. Unfortunately, not all and not always in our God-saving Russia. However, in general, a tendency towards a transition to a new era of a more friendly nature of production has been outlined in the world. And technologies rolled in somewhere in Sweden would appear sooner or later with us. Alas, we have lost the pioneering role in science and technology, but we can well adopt the experience of others.
Falling oil prices could push humanity back. In vain environmental optimists rejoice: the economy is in crisis, production is declining all over the world, which means that the burden on nature and hurray is decreasing. Dolphins appeared in Venice, penguins sailed to Australia, and small pterodactyls dug up themselves and resurrected in Wuhan.
In fact, the long-term consequences of the economic crisis and low oil prices will consist in a dramatic deterioration of the environmental situation, as financing for environmental development will decrease, and saving oil and oil products will become economically unprofitable. It will be simpler and cheaper to produce anything, making the most of resources and “saving” on saving technologies.
So if we really advocate something for eco-activists, it is for raising oil prices. That rare case when it is good for the budget and for nature.
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