Me Myself and I. I'd like to write a short list of the people I am able to hold responsible for climate change. there's a lot of emphasis placed on who's at fault who's to blame and whose Behavior really needs to change. We really love focussing on the other we get to blame Americans love to focus on the Chinese the Chinese love to focus on the Americans Europeans left to focus on the Americans and the Chinese and everybody endlessly passes the buck. sometimes we draw all the lines a little bit differently. a recent Reddit post with over 14,000 upvotes was titled “ climate change is accelerating because of Rich consumers energy use. highly affluent consumers drive a biophysical resource use (a) directly through high consumption, (b) as members of powerful factions of the capitalist class and (c) through driving consumption Norms across the population”
the body politic of Reddit took this as more evidence that billionaires are ruining the world failing to appreciate that affluent in this context is referring to everyone in the first world. if you make $38,000 a year your in the world's top 10% of wealth, and contributing as much as 52% of all carbon emissions. this is to say rather concisely that it's everyone in North America everyone in Canada everyone in Australia everyone in the United Kingdom everyone in the developed world who is contributing to climate change. but if we mean to have a meaningful discussion on the subject we need to be appreciative of a couple of ideas, we cannot for example dismiss the challenges faced by low-income members of the developed world, it would be deeply on ethical for anyone in that socioeconomic strata to suggest that those people of the bottom end of the developed World ought to adopt for example the most expensive modes of eating if it were to save it the planet. for example if your only method of protein wear a beyond meat Burger you find yourself out spending someone eating at McDonald's everyday probably by 3 or 4 times. this also touches on a critically important idea that need not be forgotten in the discussion of climate change: liberty. the goal of solving climate change is solving an ethically otherwise we would just nuke somebody and they would nuke us back and lots of people would die and climate change would stop. likewise when we discuss solving climate change we are implicitly discussing how to solve it ethically. condemning for people to Poverty forever is unethical. condemning the poorest Nations on the World to use the most expensive forms of power is unethical. convincing people that it is in their best interest to adopt a sustainable lifestyle is deeply different than seizing their property and battling them into submission. someone who discovers that it is illegal for them to buy and install it incandescent light bulbs is more likely to seek them out and buy them. conversely someone who is coaxed encouraged and rewarded for every sustainable decision they make is more likely to choose the next sustainable lightbulb the voluntarily and freely. this is also why it is deeply counterproductive to fight and argue with people when they are trying I'll be at in incoherent ways to being more sustainable. attempting to hold somebody else's feet to the fire because they aren't installing their own water purification system composting their own poop, installing a personal wind turbine and studying electrical engineering so they know how to troubleshoot it is at best a slow tedious expensive and ultimately doomed Prospect. which brings me to my thesis for the day: there's exactly one person I have the ability to hold too sustainability standards. there's exactly one human being in the entire space of the world that I can truly control in this regard and I look him in the face every morning in the mirror.
doesn't really matter if you are attempting to blame another country or attempting to blame a different socioeconomic class or attempting to blame your neighbour. every person who tries to blame someone else before they've done everything they know they can do themselves is not really interested in Saving the planet they're interested in scapegoating and whataboutisms. this is something we are all likely to do at some point. easy an emotionally gratifying to point out someone's hypocrisy, Hypocrites are everywhere (even the mirror). but in the same way European political leaders shrug and gesture fruitlessly to the United States, the United States points at China and China Poinsett how badly treated black people are in America. there's exactly one way forward take out a piece of paper and write down here is what I can do differently to make the world a more sustainable place. if you can't buy a turbine you probably shouldn't. if you can't compost then it's probably not the best move. maybe just maybe one thing you might be able to do is to cut down on your meat products once a week. I'm not saying become vegan I certainly aint. I'd look at your lifestyle not someone elses not your neighbours not what they're doing in China and ask yourself what you do. what can you take personal responsibility for. what change no matter how small can you make today? after all the Journey of a Thousand Miles begins with a single step, and if you want the species to last long enough that you get to travel another thousand miles it's probably in your best interests to ask the person you see in the mirror what they can do to be 1% better for the planet, freely chosen of their own volition.