With so much controversy surrounding climate change and the role that we play in accelerating these issues, I think it is important that we remember what steps we can take in mitigating those issues at home. Many of those who advocate taking an active role in reversing or at least preventing further damage from occurring state that our overconsumption and waste are at the heart of the issue.
It is not enough to say that developing countries need to scale back their use of fossil fuels or ease industrial polluting. The reality is most of those operations exist to manufacture the electronics, cheap textiles, and plastic goods that we buy here at home.
Developing countries are just that, developing, and need to be able to consume more natural resources to develop the same baseline security that we have here at home. As the world’s top consumer of goods, and the largest creator of waste, we need to take responsibility for our role in the contributing to the crisis.
While we may think that there is little we can do, after all we are not titans of industry or political influencers, we vote with our dollars and our actions. Rather than get caught in the trap of over consumption or replacing and upgrading perfectly good items at home, we can focus our dollars on second-hand stores or using the items we have for longer.
When it comes to recycling, most of us are probably guilty of throwing a little recycling in with the trash or failing to separate items in the recycling properly. Paying attention to these issues are just one way we can do more.
Another way we can help is by keeping older cars on the road longer. For many of us, that is not a problem, since we drive used cars. But if you are considering a new car, know that there are reports online, credible ones, that show that an old smog belching car is better for the environment than the materials, waste, water, and energy that it takes to produce a brand new one.
It gets tricky when you ask people to consume less. After all, part of the promise of the American dream is that we are all entitled to have more, better, newer, and as many of things as we want.
The truth, in my opinion, is that American has taken more than its fair share and needs to accept the reality that it is arguably our duty to actively seek ways to take a little less, use a little longer, and make a clear conscious effort to be a part of the solution in whatever small way we are able.
Concerns about the climate changing have been expressed since the 1950’s and in earnest since the 70’s. Now in our lifetime we are seeing a red line approaching, some say it is already here, and it is our time within this generation to stand up and choose to do more and be a part of the solution.
We must take active steps and not just idly stand by and wait for someone else to come up with a solution. This can be as simple as choosing not to use plastic utensils and dishes, bringing a reusable container for coffee and drinks, and not buying another pair of shoes just to be fashionable.
We need to focus more on needs and not wants, which starts with the needs of the planet and considering those communities in countries abroad who don’t enjoy the benefits that we take for granted.