Will Aspen get message about overconsumption? | AspenTimes.com

Will Aspen get message about overconsumption?

Renowned author Bill McKibben found both irony and inspiration Friday in the fact that he was addressing the sins of consuming too many goods while sitting in Aspen, the mecca of overindulgence.

McKibben was one of the crowd favorites at the State of the World Conference with his warning about a “post-human” society that could be wrought by human genetic engineering.

He said society has to thoroughly examine the issues of splicing human genes rather than just blindly accept the technological know-how as a good thing. He warned that Americans and residents of other advanced countries are too caught up in consumption and accumulating material goods. That overconsumption, he said, has to stop before it leads to using all of the earth’s resources.

McKibben noted that he was asked by a reporter before coming to the conference if it was ironic to be spreading that message in Aspen, the playground of people so wealthy that $2 million homes are considered “tear downs” and cost has no meaning. He hadn’t visited the town for some time so he didn’t exactly know what the reporter meant.

But after arriving, it all made sense, McKibben said. He said he looked up at the ridge overlooking town and saw what looked like “50 competing junior high schools.” He wondered what in the world goes on in homes so large.

When he went downtown, he couldn’t help but notice that Ford Explorers were subcompact cars compared to what most people were driving, he quipped.

On the other hand, McKibben said, he also saw in the mountains surrounding Aspen the qualities that make environmental activism so important. The incredible beauty of the area highlights the importance of promoting a healthy planet, he said.

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