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Paris is known as the City Of Light principally because of the gas lights of the 1800’s, but it may be time to turn the lights off, at least late at night.


Andrew Price, Will The City Of Light Go Dark To Save Energy?
A proposal from Delphine Batho, head of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy, would require stores, offices, and public buildings across the country to turn off the lights between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. The point of the policy, according to Batho, is not only to save energy and money but also “to change the culture” in a time of economic crisis, making people aware of the importance of using energy resources efficiently.
If the new policy is approved by Parliament, it will take effect in June, with certain exceptions for hospitals, police stations, and other critical operations. Indeed, the target of the policy seems to be shops that keep their lights on all night long. Or at least that’s what some proprietors seem to think. France’s Commerce Council has made statements opposing the idea, claiming that it will turn off tourists and hurt business. Predictably, the light bulb and lighting systems industries have also objected.


The savings could be considerable — $261 million per year — but the biggest impact could be the cascade out to other cities and towns that might follow Paris’ lead.

Paris is known as the City Of Light principally because of the gas lights of the 1800’s, but it may be time to turn the lights off, at least late at night.

Andrew Price, Will The City Of Light Go Dark To Save Energy?

A proposal from Delphine Batho, head of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy, would require stores, offices, and public buildings across the country to turn off the lights between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. The point of the policy, according to Batho, is not only to save energy and money but also “to change the culture” in a time of economic crisis, making people aware of the importance of using energy resources efficiently.

If the new policy is approved by Parliament, it will take effect in June, with certain exceptions for hospitals, police stations, and other critical operations. Indeed, the target of the policy seems to be shops that keep their lights on all night long. Or at least that’s what some proprietors seem to think. France’s Commerce Council has made statements opposing the idea, claiming that it will turn off tourists and hurt business. Predictably, the light bulb and lighting systems industries have also objected.

The savings could be considerable — $261 million per year — but the biggest impact could be the cascade out to other cities and towns that might follow Paris’ lead.

(via studio630)

It is always a little hard to find a convincing answer to the man who says, “What has posterity ever done for me?” and the conservationist has always had to fall back on rather vague ethical principles postulating identity of the individual with some human community or society which extends not only back into the past but forward into the future. Unless the individual identifies with some community of this kind, conservation is obviously “irrational.” Why should we not maximize the welfare of this generation at the cost of posterity? “Après nous, le déluge” has been the motto of not insignificant numbers of human societies. The only answer to this, as far as I can see, is to point out that the welfare of the individual depends on the extent to which he can identify himself with others, and that the most satisfactory individual identity is that which identifies not only with a community in space but also with a community extending over time from the past into the future. If this kind of identity is recognized as desirable, then posterity has a voice, even if it does not have a vote; and in a sense, if its voice can influence votes, it has votes too. This whole problem is linked tip with the much larger one of the determinants of the morale, legitimacy, and “nerve” of a society, and there is a great deal of historical evidence to suggest that a society which loses its identity with posterity and which loses its positive image of the future loses also its capacity to deal with present problems, and soon falls apart.

- Kenneth Boulding, The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth, 1966

Boulding teaches us that referring to posterity instead of the future leads to a dramatic change in perspective. ‘Posterity’ implies continuity of society and the obligations of those living now to future inheritors, a living commitment, while ‘the future’ is a distant land peopled by strangers to whom we have no ties.

Boulding is very much a modern man, a product of the first half of the 20th century, when concern for posterity was a duty of the elite. In the postmodern, posterity was mined, exploited for all it held, and all that was left was ‘the future’. And now, at the outset of the post-normal, ‘the future’ is just a pile of slag left behind by people we don’t remember, just a pile of sci fi stills and economist’s powerpoints with the lines all trending in the wrong direction.

We have reached the point that Boulding wrote about: our leaders — our culture — provide us no images of the future other than dystopia and decline. We need to colonize the future ourselves, we must make our own maps of that territory, maps that show us as inhabitants and inheritors, making new economics, breaking with the deals and disasters of the past, and committing again to each other: to be a community and not consumers, to be partners and not competitors, to be from the future and beyond the past. 


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