Do all of the small environmental actions of individuals make any significant difference to climate change? According to an article in In These Times, not really:
One barrier standing in the way of meaningful action is fuzzy-headed thinking on the part of those truly concerned about global warming. So worried are these activists, that their solution to the climate change problem is to marshal legions of Americans to change light bulbs, buy a Prius, or do any other number of helpful, but, in the big picture, not too significant feel-good actions.
Some of my work over the past decade has been in performance improvement, and I’ve tried to focus on the real causes of organisational problems, and not just the symptoms. Having everyone “do their part” may not be enough to reverse global warming and a more concentrated effort to address the root causes may be needed . The article goes on to make this comparison with the civil rights movement:
Take the Civil Rights movement. Yes, personal reflection and individual change had its place, but can you imagine Martin Luther King telling people to â€œaskâ€ their school boards to integrate the public schools, or â€œencourageâ€ corporations not to discriminate, or â€œtellâ€ their elected leaders to â€œpushâ€ legislatures in the South to do away with Jim Crow laws?
One answer may be to act green in our decisions that can actually make a difference. For instance:
- When voting, choose the most environmentally responsible candidate or party.
- Don’t settle for half-measures from any elected official and let them know it.
- Refuse to be sold short-term economic benefits in place of environmental sustainability.
- Lobby to get rid of the worst offenders amongst our elected officials.