Start demanding climate reform – The Daily Utah Chronicle
As the climate crisis worsens, environmentally conscious consumers are starting to feel more and more discouraged. Even with growing public concern and the popularization of sustainability, carbon emissions have increased. Atmospheric carbon levels are reaching record levels with each passing month.
As an environmentally conscious consumer myself, I understand. I do my best to recycle, avoid single-use plastics and eat sustainably. While it is disappointing to see little reward for my efforts, I cannot make a real impact on my own. My efforts don’t matter if I don’t demand large-scale change. Consumers must extend their concerns beyond personal consumption and demand radical change within larger systems to achieve climate neutrality.
It is essential to recognize the gravity of the climate crisis. Most of the hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000. The global average surface temperature has increased by about two degrees since the pre-industrial era (1880-1900) which is extreme given the thermal capacity. These changes are the result of multifaceted impacts within an incredibly complex system.
As today’s consumers increasingly become educated, the impact of industrialization on the planet is better recognized. However, harmful environmental practices are an integral part of the economic world. Large companies are largely responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, 20 companies were responsible for over a third of all carbon emissions, meaning the companies we choose to support are playing a role in climate action.
But we cannot ignore the reality of classism in this business. Consumers should not have to bear the burden of the climate crisis. It costs money and time to reduce yours carbon footprint – a term fossil fuel companies perpetuated to satiate consumers and suppress the demand for system-wide change.
Things like eating organic and avoiding fast fashion are not affordable for average Americans. However, we can only avoid the inevitable climate changes cost shock for so long. We must actively participate in the environmental reform of government and policies before the situation worsens. An obstacle to the progress of an aggressive policy of environmental protection is the will of the government to accept the the bare minimum. The increased public concern won’t work if we settle for less than the change we need.
Economist, conservationist and head of advisory services at Blue source, Janet Peace, told me about climate reform. Regarding participation in environmental advocacy, she said, “understanding who your representatives are and where they stand on these issues is important from an individual or business perspective.” Specifically, she encouraged the support of market-based policies. As she said, these policies “ensure that we understand that there is a cost to using the environment”.
These are things we need to be aware of when participating in local and national government. Are our representatives actively supporting the fight against climate change? What kinds of climate policies do they support in parliament? We must take these issues into account when we vote as policy makers have the power to create a change that we cannot.
Faced with such emergency weather conditions, they do not deserve a pass, especially if they blatantly ignore or refuse to acknowledge the changing climate. Unfortunately, many do, and it is unacceptable. Some even argue that the government should not play a role in environmental issues. However, again recalling the words of Peace, “the environment is used by Everybody and paid per person. The government therefore has a role to play in policy making to ensure that we all have a clean environment.
There is no sufficient excuse to downplay the environmental crisis. We cannot lower our standards for the sake of compromise. Politics traffic jam poses a real threat to proposed environmental improvements as the government becomes more polarized and antagonistic, making it more important than ever to continue to pressure the situation.
The combined efforts and participation of entire communities are essential to solve the complex problem of climate change. In our areas of personal, corporate and government influence, we must relentlessly insist on climate reform. The large-scale change we need begins with consumer demand and consumer efforts. The next time you feel disheartened by the growing environmental crisis, I encourage you not to give up hope but to find ways to become more involved in demanding the necessary changes.