Whether you call it global warming or climate change, the issue of human impact on the earth’s systems is a very real one.
For climate change skeptics, it’s a big jump to imagine that we are affecting the world around us, and it’s easy to point the finger at other people’s actions and say that there’s some hidden agenda in the climate argument (Al Gore is getting rich, Environmentalists are socialists, The third world countries are to blame for pollution and overpopulation…).
Environmentalists are also more than happy to put the blame on others – the energy industry, the mega-corporations, the government.
But the truth is, it’s us. Every single one of us.
There’s no big bad guys, and no ‘evil corporations’ are guilty of more damage to the earth then we are. It’s us. Our daily habits affect the world around us, and we as environmentalists are as guilty as anybody.
Here’s my argument: The businesses and industries that we love to bash are only pursuing their mission – to sell what people are buying. And we keep buying it, whether it’s electricity made by burning coal, or oversized trucks and SUVs that gulp down petroleum and spew out pollutants, or consumer goods made to be used once and thrown away, or… the list goes on and on.
If we weren’t gladly throwing our cash at these companies every single day, they would not be able to continue with business as usual, and would be forced to find something else to sell.
So the power lies with each of us, in our daily actions.
When we can change our habits and live in a different way, we’ll see that the change happens.
It’s not going to change overnight, and there won’t be any magic bullet for climate change action to come out of the Copenhagen (COP15) conference (sorry to burst your bubble). No amount of half-ass solutions are going to bring about massive CO2 emissions reductions (350ppm), and while I like seeing more renewable energy initiatives, if we keep using (wasting) the same amount of energy, we will continue to burn through our natural resources at the same alarming rate.
This is not to say that we should abandon movements like 350.org and TckTckTck, or dismiss COP15 entirely. They have their place as well. But when we expect these organizations and events to make the changes happen, without accepting our own personal responsibility here on Earth, we’ll continue to be disappointed.
It’s up to us.