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Transition: Reaction vs Investigation

Letter from Ron Robinson, Nelson

When the subject of transition away from fossil fuels comes up, there is often a reaction that those advocating for change should stop heating their homes with natural gas, throw away mobile phones and computers since they are largely made with fossil fuel derivatives – petrochemicals.

To not do this would qualify as being a hypocrite.

The average person is not going to invent new heating systems for their home.

They are more likely to use existing and available technologies, since it’s difficult to move to an alternative that doesn’t yet exist. Advocacy is the push to make that happen.

If we investigate what is actually going on in the realm of transition we first realize it is a change over time – starting from where you are and moving to where you want to be.

When we do some further investigation we find that the International Energy Agency has identified petrochemicals as an area where biochemicals will become a major disrupter, providing the necessary molecules to produce things like textiles, plastics of all types, coatings for pharmaceuticals, bio solvents and even diaper liners.

One obvious concern is land use to provide the biochemicals although some are made from industrial waste that would otherwise be destroyed or land filled.

Yes, attention will have to be given to sustainability.

All this does point out that a reactive response to transition may not give an accurate indication of how far along transition has already come.

Ron Robinson,


Letter to the Editor