Almost every post or comment I see that is about global warming or the environment seems to blame individual consumers. People say things like – you shouldn’t be eating meat, you shouldn’t drive as much, you should drive electric, you shouldn’t use single-use plastics or plastic water bottles, you need to trade in your gas oven for an electric one.
That is incredibly intellectually lazy. Rather than actually going after the root causes of pollution and environmental degradation, they turn and cause infighting amongst regular people.
I don’t see many blaming the US military, which is arguably the largest polluter in the world. One small forward operating base overseas can consume 800,000 water bottles in a month. Massive amounts of equipment have to be shipped all over the world, on ships That in one trip and make more missions than millions of cars put together. And don’t get me started on international shipping, global corporations, and public policy that can affect corporations.
Also these are the same people who say the reason they don’t talk about India or Asia is because they’re not over there and can’t affect policy, so they focus on the US where they’re from. Logically false because these are the same people that support Greta’s message and keep talking about the Paris Climate Accord and American and European standards both. So then why exclude Asia? You can’t have a serious conversation about pollution and global warming without including the top polluting countries in the world.
You’re not going to get anywhere blaming individual consumers and telling them not to use a plastic straw. That’s not the damn problem and subconsciously I think they know it. “Oh but if you stop consuming the company will be forced to lower demand.” Maybe in your econ book, but on the aggregate, in a global market place, that’s not how this works. Most people don’t give a shit, and rightfully so. They use the what is low cost that is most convenient for them. You’re not going to reach these people, you’re not going to make a dent. Trying to change human nature is like trying to make water not wet. But it’s far easier to blame people for using a gas oven and calling them irresponsible assholes who hate the rainforest then to think about real policy-based solutions that target the military-industrial complex, the top international players, and corporations. Not at the individual consumer level, but at the nation policy level where it might actually make a spit of a difference.
TL; DR: I think people who call themselves environmentalists who do this, do it for an ego boost. They give themselves a pat on the back, thinking they’ve done something by rabidly going after their neighbors for driving an SUV. When in fact they’re just being egotistical dicks alienating the very people they need on their side if we’re going to drive through policy changes in a democratic system.
Edit: oh, and I forgot to add I keep seeing people on Reddit talk about how people shouldn’t be having children and how we should teach people not to breed so much, which is a disgusting view and blaming people for having children as the cause of environmental degradation really is sick. we really are forgetting why we care about the environment in the first place. It’s because of people and their welfare. The planet can give a crap whether there are trees or clean water or not. We’re losing sight of why we want the environment to be clean. It’s for people, so people can live a healthy life.
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