With so many people turning a blind eye to the man-made climate change emergency on our doorstep, a lot of others are asking if there’s really anything we can do — if there’s any hope to change our climate in time — short of turning off the electricity around the globe and waiting a century to see who’s left alive to turn the lights back on. Environmental activism is getting bigger and louder over time, but is it enough to turn the tide?
One of the biggest problems we face is our own system of democratic capitalism, a system many have come to realize is broken — and has always been broken. Under the current status quo, the ones with the most money have the biggest voice, and the government will always cater to them first. Since the fossil fuel companies are rich, who does the government listen to? Even if we install a president who wants to implement a big change without relying on big money (like an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders), there are far too many in the opposition to ever make anything happen to substantial effect.
So what can we do?
Those who understand the grave consequences of doing nothing will always try to do something. That’s why we all have that vegan friend, or the friend with a die-hard recycling habit, or a friend who bikes to work instead of relying on transportation that pumps more greenhouse gases in the air. But those individual contributions mean almost nothing. Most of these people pick and choose what they give up, and too many people choose to give up nothing. In order to make a difference that matters, we need to do something as a collective.
Perhaps the best thing we can do is educate those who are taken in by all the lies strewn about day by day. Climate activist Greta Thunberg decided she would give up flying to help fight climate change. While her individual contribution means as little as anyone else’s, it’s more of a publicity stunt — and she’s using the publicity to make more people aware of what will happen if we don’t do anything to avert a disaster that could result in the extinction of our own race.
New York recently passed a “Climate Emergency” declaration. While this may be a victory for activists everywhere, we have to wonder what it will really accomplish.
Right now, Joe Biden is perhaps the most likely candidate to receive the Democratic nomination for president — and that’s to say nothing of his relatively minute chance of becoming our next president because of a political landscape that many in the older generations fail to understand. He presented a plan to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels by 2050. Good job, old guy: you’ve presented a plan to do nothing at all. Organically, even if that were soon enough to make a difference (it’s not), we’ll already have turned to other more sustainable resources by 2050.
We really need a new government to have a chance. We’re not likely to get one.