太平洋西北岸的永續發展:電子商務的綠化 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

太平洋西北岸的永續發展:電子商務的綠化

2001年01月18日
作著: 比爾‧韓德森 版權歸屬Tidepool,環境信託基金會 (林以楠 譯,蘇崧棱 審校

身為一個在豪桑平靜水域林業界工作,並住在對林業仍有部分依賴的吉布森社區的環保運動份子,我在此呼籲各位重視一個盲點,它使得熱心環保份子對令人不悅的現實進行「漂綠」。

目前存在著一種「近視現象」:無法分辨科技創新後,設計好、效率高的能源和資源生產體系所期望帶來的永續經濟,以及一般認為對環境無害、事實上卻依賴世界其它角落環境破壞的第三級產業服務業,這兩者之間有什麼差異。

想像你住在沒有工廠、紙漿廠、或捕魚船隊的卡斯開迪亞(Cascadia)社區。那裡有乾淨的空氣與水,綠樹覆蓋的山丘受到保護,鄰近水域中還有鮭魚及鯡魚苗。



使用效率較高的能源技術,社區的生態足跡(譯註1)減少了嗎?非化石燃料提供了所需的能源嗎?吃的、用的,是以生態永續發展的方式提供的嗎?永續經濟所需的新科技--在「自然資本主義(Natural Capitalism)」和「生物擬態(Biomimicry)」兩書中,有令人信服的細節描述--的確是卡斯開迪亞經濟擴張中的一部分。(譯註1:維持某一地區生活所需的面積,稱為該區的生態足跡,足跡越大,對生態的衝擊越大。)



但思考一下:在經濟位階上,你住在一個由資源生產提升到白領階級工作,並專注在投資、規劃或其它服務業等第三級經濟的社區嗎?



如果是,社區的空氣是隨著污染性工廠搬遷到上海、馬尼拉、德爾班等地而變乾淨的,被破壞的光禿山丘現在也離開了你的視線和注意力,而到了宏都拉斯、印尼或北安大略;你們的捕魚船隊可能到了非洲或南極沿岸;你們住在富裕、潔淨、對環境無害的社區中,但付出無法估算的代價:如生物歧異度降低、氣候變遷等全球性的人為破壞。



卡斯開迪亞社區的生態足跡,無情的擴張著。真正能取代有害環境的舊工藝的永續能源和新科技,很可能創造無限機會的未來;但上網購物或遠距工作等侵蝕性經濟行為,能危及我們未來,則是今日嚴酷的現實。



如果我們僅是不再伐木,卻不做減少消費或改變木材製品的工業製程等努力,伐木只是發生在其它地方,有可能以更不符永續發展的方式進行。



在過去20年來美國聯邦管理林地(US Federal forest)砍伐量的實質減少之後,一項木材製品流向的產業分析,卻指向每年百分之一成長的美國木材消耗及紙製品的消費趨勢持續不變。伐木雖沒發生在我們的後院,需求卻是由加拿大北部林區進口量的增加所提供。



我們木材製品的生態足跡持續擴張,但只有少數卡斯開迪亞民眾生活品質比得上像佛克斯(Forks)、阿爾柏尼港(Port Alberni)、吉布森(Gibsons)或西卡(Sitka),那些以永續方式經營林業的城鎮。



我們知道什麼是生態永續、量少質高的林業,但是全球林業持續增產木材,用在四千平方呎房屋、厚重目錄和過度包裝上,用在卡斯開迪亞不斷增加的木材製品消耗上。



高科技、電子商務和與其同時成長的生態旅遊,這些都被人提倡作為我們吉布森社區資源性經濟的替代品。



電子商務和生態旅遊對地區生態系的衝擊,比目前使用破壞性生產管理方式的資源工業要小。但兩者都依賴由其它地區以非永續方式所創造的財富來推動,藉以取代由資源工業所創造的財富。



兩者在基礎建設和能源耗用上的潛在成本,經常被他們的擁護者掩飾忽略。



最常用非永續方式發電來滿足的電力需求成長,以及流入掩埋場的電腦零組件,是高科技經濟中兩個地區性的負面作用。而由飛機或其他運輸方式、地區性道路和基礎性觀光建設,還有各種維護保養所增加的二氧化碳排放量,也常無法量化估算。



那些提倡以公園或休閒作為新經濟財源的人,無福享受居住在觀光市鎮的生活--廢棄物、廉價工資、侷限的季節性工作、和一群群吵鬧玩樂的外地人--生活品質的真正下降。



在這商業和旅遊活動越來越頻繁、卻未建立適當藩籬以保護區域生態和文化的健全及完整的世界中,電子商務和生態旅遊,也可能帶來各種病毒與病源。



在這語言與物種以前所未有速率消失的世界中,虛擬商場和賞鯨遊客都算是入侵性物種的近親--雖然沒有實質上的蔓延或繁衍,但無論如何卻攜帶了生態和文化破壞的種籽。



即使這些活動的生態足跡已被完整估算了解前,也只有已開發國家那些近視嚴重、開著運動休旅車、過度肥胖的民眾,可以把這些依賴性的新興服務業當成朝向永續發展路上的一大步。但我們所處的是一個充斥短視經濟觀的世界,「生態足跡」只是一個新興的概念而已。



熱心的環保份子,在對抗過度砍伐(clearcuts)、城市入侵自然(sprawl)、污染和其它工業社會造成的明顯地區性問題時,常抱持同樣短視的文化偏見,而看不見電子商務、高科技經濟和生態旅遊等對全球人為改變、物種滅絕、文化消失--這些大衛鈴木(David Suzuki譯註2) 所謂的「慢速進行的大災難 (slow motion catastrophes)」--造成的影響,這種影響將危及我們所有人的未來。(譯註2:大衛鈴木,加拿大籍著名環保人士,遺傳學家、作家,也是提倡永續生態的世界級領袖。)



以永續生態的林業、漁業、農業所提供的財富為基礎,經由發展經濟活動而倍增,勢必成為卡斯開迪亞永續發展的準則。由此地創新致富,進而應用到全世界各地,當然是正確方向,但以永續經營的態度,使用我們家園的初級生產淨額,在健康的生態環境中,發展健全的經濟模式,才是我們必須首重的方向。



我們在卡斯開迪亞,有責任進行必要的改革來發展永續經濟,以證明優質生活與太平洋此岸的自然能和諧共存。



比爾‧韓德森是一位住在英屬哥倫比亞省吉布森市的環保運動份子,職業是 sidewinder 操作員。(譯註3)

(譯註3:sidewinder是一種可以前後左右移動的小船,以便將水面上木頭分類。)


Sustainability in the Pacific Northwest: The Greening of E-Commerce
by BILL HENDERSON

As an enviro activist who works on the calm waters of Howe Sound in the forest industry and lives in the still partially forest industry dependent community of Gibsons, I'm writing to call attention to a blindspot that is leading well meaning enviros to greenwash an unpleasant reality:

There is a myopic failure to differentiate between those segments of the high tech revolution that promise a sustainable economy by development of more efficient and better designed energy, resource production and manufacturing systems, from those segments that, as services in a tertiary economy, are assumed to be weightless or environmentally benign, but are in actuality parasitic dependence upon environmental degradation in other parts of the world.

Imagine that you live in a Cascadia community where there are no factories or pulp mills or fishing fleets. Your air and water are clean, the green treed hillsides are protected and salmon and herring spawn in neighbouring waters.

Have more energy efficient technologies shrunk your communities ecological footprint? Does a non-fossil fuel provide the energy needed? Are your food and material needs supplied in an ecologically sustainable manner? The high tech revolution that is creating the tools to achieve this sustainable economy -- and which are detailed so promisingly in books such as Natural Capitalism and Biomimicry -- is definitely an expanding component of our Cascadia economy.

But consider: Do you live in a community with a tertiary economy, having moved up the economic ladder from resource production through manufacturing to 'white collar' jobs; concentrated attention upon investment, planning and other service systems?

If so, your town's air is getting cleaner as the polluting factories move to Shanghai or Manila or Durban. The devastated treeless hillsides are now out of sight and mind in Honduras or Indonesia or Northern Ontario. Your fishing fleets may be fishing off of Africa or Antarctica. You live in a rich, clean, environmentally friendly community but at tremendous, unaccounted expense: global scale problems of anthropogenic origin such as loss of biodiversity and climate change.

Our Cascadia ecological footprint continues to grow relentlessly bigger. A truly sustainable source of energy and innovative technologies to replace the HEAT, BEAT and TREAT technologies of the industrial era promise to open a future world of limitless opportunity, but the harsh reality of today is that shopping at the cybermall or working out of your home office is still part of a corrosive economy that endangers all our futures.

If we no longer log but don't reduce our consumption or change the industrial processes by which we get our forest products, the logging just occurs somewhere else -- probably in even less sustainable ways.

Industrial ecology analysis of forest product flows following the substantial reduction of logging in U.S. Federal forests over the last two decades indicates that the annual 1 percnet increase in U.S. consumption of lumber and paper products continued unabated. The logging didn't occur in our back yard, but imports from the boreal forest in northern Canada increased substantially.

Our wood products footprint continues to expand but fewer people in Cascadia live quality lifestyles in what could be a sustainable forest industry in towns such as Forks, Port Alberni, Gibsons or Sitka.

We know what that ecologically sustainable, low volume - high quality forestry could be, but global industrial forestry continues to expand production of wood for 4000 sq. ft homes, fat catalogues and excess packaging, for our ever increasing wood products consumption in Cascadia.

The expanding high tech and e-commerce economy along with ecotourism are being advocated as a replacement for the resource-based economy in my community of Gibsons.

E-commerce and ecotourism are both far lighter in their impact on local ecosystems than resource industries as presently constituted in continuing destructive resource production management. But both depend upon wealth created in an unsustainable manner in other places as a potential substitute for wealth created from resource based industries.

Both have hidden costs in infrastructure and energy use that are usually glossed over by their advocates.

Increasing demand for electricity that is most often generated in an unsustainable manner and computer components in landfills are two negative local side effects of a growing high tech economy. Increased CO2 emissions from airplane and other travel, local road and tourist infrastructure and maintenance are not usually quantified.

And those who advocate parks and recreation as a source of wealth in the new economy have not had the great pleasure of living in a tourist town: litter, low paid, seasonal service sector jobs, crowds of rude partying non-citizens -- the quality of life really goes down in a tourist town.

Both e-commerce and ecotourism are also potential vectors of viruses and pathogens in an increasingly interconnected world where we continue to build bridges for trade and travel but not the necessary barricades to protect local ecosystem and cultural health and integrity.

In a world losing species and languages at unprecedented rates, cybermalls and whale watchers are akin to invasive species - maybe without the physical sprawl and litter, but carrying the seed of ecosystem and cultural degradation nevertheless.

If their full ecological footprint was quantified and understood, only very myopic, SUV driving, obese inhabitants of privileged developed countries could consider these parasitic new service sectors as progress on the path to sustainability. But we live in a world preoccupied by relentlessly short term economics where our ecological footprint is just an emerging idea.

Well meaning environmentalists fighting clearcuts, sprawl, pollution and the other very obvious local effects of an industrial society often share the short term economic bias of the culture they are embedded within and do not have the bigger picture of how e-commerce, the high tech economy and ecotourism can contribute to global anthropogenic change, to species extinction, to cultural extinction, -- what David Suzuki calls the "slow motion catastrophes" that imperil all our futures.

Ecologically sustainable forestry, fisheries and farming sectors supplying the basic wealth to be multiplied in evolving economic activity have to be the basis of sustainability in Cascadia. Wealth from innovation developed here but applied in other areas of the world can certainly be a positive input, but using the net primary production of our home place sustainably, to grow healthy economies in healthy ecosystems, must be our priority.

We have a responsibility of developing this sustainable economy here in Cascadia; a responsibility to make the necessary changes and prove that a rich quality of life is possible living within a harmony with nature on this Pacific coast.

Bill Henderson is an enviromental activist and sidewinder operator who lives in Gibsons, B.C.