Wimbi's Wedges

(apologies to friend Robert Socolow)

Written by, Community Solutions fellow, wimbi

Now, class, please note the  editorial in the NYT  to the effect that -We can’t get there from here -to a low carbon world -  with what we know how to do, even if we do our very best, not just those nibbly littleefforts we are doing now.

This is quite obviously not true, for the simple reason I am about to show you- (draws big circle on the blackboard).  Here is our gross national effort of everything, we do.  It shows what energy, materials, brain-power, and so on, that we use for this and that, 

I start with the straight up line noon, and go clockwise around to about 1:20, that’s the wedge, or the slice of the pie, or whatever you like to label it, that represents what we REALLY HAVE TO DO.  You know what I mean, like, eat, breath, drink, not freeze, and that sort of thing,  If we don’t do all of that, we die.  This one we gotta have, no matter what, But you see it’s a pretty small piece of the whole pie.

Then, from 1:20 to maybe 3:40, we have the stuff that’s very nice to have but we could get along without much of, like education, communication, trade, and all that.  This wedge is bigger than the first one, and important, but none of it is absolutely necessary to stay alive, as is evident from the fact on the ground that lots of people now alive don't have it.

So you get where I am going -  next slice, we mark off as “great to have but could get along without”, just gripe a little.  Things like bananas, cars, rare earth magnets,  haircuts, AC, trips to Paris, things like that.  This one is big.  Goes from 3:40 to about 7:10. Notice how really big this one is compared to the first,vastly more important one, and you will start thinking the obvious before I tell you.

Then, the next wedge, or slice, the really big one, uses up most  of  everything we do, and is labeled "frivolous, harmful, evil or just plain stupid”  This one goes from 7:10 right around to straight up noon again.  I don’t need to tell you what’s in it.  My personal favorites are soda pop, lawns, on-impulse flights to Pago-Pago, and nuclear submarines.

Well, so when the NYT says we can’t get (you put in your favorite, like eliminating CO2), from here to there, it is same as saying - we  refuse to slide the bounds of those bad wedges around even a little bit.

Easy to see why.  All we have to do in orderto get a good wedge bigger than it is, and not change the more important one behind it, is to slide the less important wedge boundary farther around clockwise.

Like, we slide the boundary of the wrong, evil, stupid wedge around from 7:10 to 9:30, and we get a big slice to putwherever we want among the previous, more important wedges, like the first one, which includes a continuation of life on the planet, that is to say, no CO2 runaway to Venus-like temperatures.  When we do that, we have got there from here.  QED.

Now, your assignment, class, is to go home and write summaries of  all the specious, tricky, irrational, diversionary editorials to the effect“all this is well and good, but (condescending pat on the head ) you, wimbi, don’t seem to understand how the real world works, and why we really, truly can’t get to there, where we want to be, from here where we are.”

And, after you have done that, You can then show us how creative you are in cooking up absolutely deadly counter- arguments to all those empty ones.  

Bravo!  And Have Fun.