It really, REALLY bothers me when I hear people frame climate change and other environmental crises as something that everyday, average-ass people are responsible for, and not corporations and entire governments.
Like literally, how can a regular-ass person ~opt out~ of all damaging behaviors while still being able to function in society?
You literally can’t.
The future of our planet is not down to whether or not someone recycles their water bottle.
It’s down to whether or not governments and corporations decide to quit sucking up all our resources and poisoning the earth with reckless abandon.
I mean obviously people should still live as cleanly and as sustainably as they can manage where they are and with what they have, but like. THAT isn’t the major issue.
govts and corporations have deliberately put the onus on yr individual choices so the system can continue being as destructive/profitable
God bless this post this pisses me off so much
Also this hyper-individualist shift of responsibility is largely an American thing and consumerism is framed as a solution- e.g., buy more shit that’s sustainable! That’ll fix the problem (buy a new, green water bottle! buy a new, green car! buy a new, green whatever-the-fuck that’ll just ultimately produce more waste)!
I took a course in sustainable engineering.
The professor mentioned that even if every private individual in the world were to conserve resources and the environment the ol’ Jimmy Carter way- by turning down the thermostat, recycling your glass and plastics and metals, cut down on luxuries, take shorter showers, etc., it would only get us 10% of the way to where we need to be in order to avoid global catastrophic climate change.
The vast majority of freshwater use is from industry and agriculture. http://www.worldometers.info/water/
The vast majority of CO2 emissions is from industrial and electrical generation sites and associated vehicles. http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/co2.html
Private individuals hardly make a dent, even in ideal conditions.
On the other hand,
– Opting to buy an appallingly inefficient SUV which requires many more resources in its manufacture, then uses more petrol/gasoline than a smaller vehicle for its entire lifespan, then trading it in at only a couple of years old for another one? Bearing in mind that each gallon of gasoline *also* contains a vast amount of embodied electricity (petrol refineries use terrifying amounts of energy that’s rarely factored in when calculating efficiency of vehicles)…
– Buying tons and tons of consumerist crap
– Throwing away around 50% of your food…
…all of this encourages and strengthens these companies. I’m not so naive as to believe that you individuals-acting-individually will change things. But removing the demand, and pushing companies to change is the only way we’ll get anywhere. As long as everyone still buys their crap, they’ll keep making and pushing it.