Choosing Differently

There is a lot of discussion at climate change seminars about technology. Can it save us? Will it save us? Do we have enough of it?

I'm sort of in the middle here. I think that technology can greatly help us, but only if we use it.

To give you an example, we have the technology for electric cars, but for a variety of reasons, very few people drive them.

Here's another example of a very simple technology: bicycles.

I was just in Copenhagen this past weekend where everyone, and I do mean everyone, bikes everywhere. Even in the snow, there were hundreds of people biking the streets. I even saw one man biking while carrying a chair with one hand!

I don't know why exactly the people of Copenhagen bike. It could be because the city is well set up for bikers, with abundant, wide bike lanes. It could be cultural and societal: everyone bikes because everyone bikes. But what I do know is that on a daily basis, a large number of those living in Copenhagen choose a very low impact technology to get around the city.

Here's the thing about technology, new and old. If there is no market for it, it will fade away. Thus, it is our responsibility as consumers to choose cleaner technologies when we can. This might mean choosing the plug-in hybrid car, it might mean choosing clean energy from your power utility, or it might be as simple as choosing a bike as your main form of transportation. But we have to create the market. Because technology may be able to get us out of this crisis, but only if we actually make use of it.