By Bob Difley
“You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all,” writes Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, “and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we’d crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?”
Paul Gilding, an Australian environmentalist/entrepreneur, tries to answer that question in his book, “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.” He points out this dilemma: “We’re currently caught in two loops: One is that more population growth and more global warming together are pushing up food prices; rising food prices cause political instability in the Middle East, which leads to higher oil prices, which leads to higher food prices, which leads to more instability. At the same time, improved productivity means fewer people are needed in every factory to produce more stuff. So if we want to have more jobs, we need more factories. More factories making more stuff make more global warming, and that is where the two loops meet.”
But do not despair, for there is a solution, according to China’s environment minister, Zhou Shengxian, who said recently, that we will realize that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less (my emphasis).
“How many people,” Gilding asks, “lie on their death bed and say, ‘I wish I had worked harder or built more shareholder value,’ and how many say, ‘I wish I had gone to more ballgames, read more books to my kids, taken more walks?’ To do that, you need a growth model based on giving people more time to enjoy life, but with less stuff.”
And that’s where I come in with my solution. It is as simple as it sounds, GO RVing. Adopting the RV lifestyle,we are doing our job in saving the earth simply by taking “more time to enjoy life.” Our RVs use fewer and lower quantities of natural resources to live in. But, even though we use a low mileage vehicle to live this lifestyle, we tend to drive shorter distances and stay in one place longer to explore rather than drive great distances everyday (except when you first purchase your wonderful new home-on-wheels and want to see it all NOW).
And we RVers also tend to pick fewer energy consuming activities, like hiking, bicycling, sight seeing, kayaking, and bird and wildlife watching than those who use airlines, hotels, theme parks, and cruises. The RV Lifestyle also forces us to use “less stuff” and that reduces waste, reduces energy used to make things that we would otherwise buy, and reduces our use of the resources needed to make that stuff.
So the bottom line is . . . by RVing you are actually helping out Mother Earth, and contributing to your “happiness” quotient. And that is a winning combination. Happy travels.
Check out my website for more RVing tips and destinations and my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (now available in a Kindle version), Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts, and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar.