Tallinn University of Technology

People have been talking about reasonable and unreasonable consumption for a couple dozen years, but mainly in the context of being environmentally friendly.

Mari Öö Sarv

Mari Öö Sarv, Editor-in-Chief of Mente et Manu | Photo: Karl-Kristjan Nigesen

Do we have to keep the lights on in glass houses during the night?

Is it really necessary to package products in three or five different packages?

How can we reduce the amount of single-use plastic?

Who needs the fireworks?

Is it reasonable to go to the store or to work by car every day?

Do we need to always have the newest phone, coffee in a single-use cup every morning, or useless ‘gifts’ made in China?

Do we need to heat our rooms to 25 degrees in winter and cool those same rooms down to 20 degrees in summer?

Leaf blowers, really?

All this discussion divided people into three groups: some took the climate talks seriously and limited their consumption where possible, others took it seriously, but hid behind the sentiment of ‘the contribution of a single person is not enough’ and continued living the same way, and the third group of people denied the climate crisis and people’s need to do something about it.

As cynical as it may sound, the pressure on the planet of excessive consumption was not a good enough reason for a lot of people to limit their consumption. People started to limit their consumption only when it started to affect their wallet. We are a little bit like the ‘partially mobilised’ Russian men – we did not care about the topic until it started affecting us directly, and now, we are in trouble.

If we have to wear a sweater and a scarf inside this winter or use the car less, then let’s please think about the planet as well, in addition to our wallet. And if the energy crisis is over next winter, we should be just as motivated to save fossil fuel as we are now. After all, we only have one planet and this planet is already in trouble. If we think now that the transition to renewable energy is not economically reasonable, then later, our children can eat the money we saved, because the Earth cannot feed us anymore.

Robert Kitt, who is on the cover of this issue, says: Estonia could switch entirely to renewable energy in five years, and the current crisis is the best time to do it. We have repeatedly made waves in the world: by singing ourselves free from occupation, building the first digital state in the world, being the best helpers of Ukraine... We are a small innovative Nordic country, I do not see a reason why we should be shy in the field of energy.

This article was published as an editorial on Mente et Manu nr 1892.