Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Voluntary Actions Aren't Good Enough

In today's Grist Magazine, I read a provocative article by Mike Tidwell who argues that voluntary actions aren't good enough to solve the climate problem.

I think he may be right.

And it's downright troubling for me to think that my personal attempts to reduce, reuse, and recycle may have no effect on reducing the so-called "ecological footprint" or resolving the current climate crisis we're facing.

So, if personal action is not enough to combat global warming, then what's the alternative solution? To find out about Mike Tidwell's suggestion, click here to read his report.


Crafty Green Poet said...

I would say that though personal attempts aren't enough they're still essential.

Michelle Verges said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you, Crafty Green Poet. I actually think the decision to make personal changes vs. legislative changes is *not* mutually exclusive. In other words, this isn't an "either/or" debate.

Instead, we ought to consider both of these factors in unison, if we're going to see effective changes in curbing global warming.

It is critical for folks to take action in reducing their negative impact on the environment. And it's critical for the government to take action on this effort, too.

We all need to take responsibility for the world we live in and do our part. Whether it's on a personal, community, national, or international level, noone is exempt from doing their part to make this world a viable place for years to come.

Experimentaholic said...

I think that the argument that personal action isn't effective is a bit spurious. It reminds me of those people who claim that the internet is destroying culture (i.e., Andrew Keen)or that laisse faire capitalism is the best thing for America (i.e., Ayn Rand followers) or that gay marriage will destroy social institutions (i.e., most republicans) . . . sounds controversial but really there isn't very much weight underlying the argument. For one thing, personal attempts raise consciousness that there is a problem out there. For another, for every plastic bag you don't use, paper you recycle, or styrofoam cup you don't use is one less that will go to the landfill. It is possible that legislation is more effective (i.e., fining people for not recycling might motivate otherwise lazy people who wouldn't make personal changes) but without personal changes there is no motivation for legislative change.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Experimentaholic's statement, "without personal changes there is no motivation for legislative change." I would also add that without personal changes, there is no motivation for businesses to change. Walmart and Target haven't gotten on the green bandwagon out of the goodness of their corporate hearts. Consumer pressure causes businesses to change, and that pressure comes from personal actions. So keep doing what you're doing and don't let one guy's dismal article depress you.