Every Little Bit Helps
With climate change, it really does. Having said that, keen readers will remember headlines like the guardian's "Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says" and it's pretty striking and convenient to follow that narrative. It is all too easy to say that the major companies are causing the pollution of our environment and melting of our icecaps. It is all too easy to absolve ourselves of blame. one important fact, about the study quoted in that headline especially, is that, according to Full Fact, a fact checking organization, " This includes the emissions from producing fossil fuels (like oil, coal and gas), and the subsequent use of the fossil fuels they sell to other companies." Those numbers include the gasoline fueling the eighteen-wheelers carrying fresh produce to supermarkets. They include the natural gas usage in stoves and heaters, and the coal usage in power plants. Those numbers include us.
companies only produce products when people are likely to buy them. according to supply and demand, if that demand decreases, so do prices. if supply falls with those demands, then the price goes back up to normal. in other words, if we use less fossil fuels, companies don't need to produce as much. The same principle applies to vegetarianism. Sure, by decreasing your carbon footprint, You'll be another drop in the bucket. but with enough drops the bucket fills up, and so does the next one. There are plenty of buckets to fill, especially in America and other countries like it. yes, China produces 28% of all carbon emissions, but America accounts for 15% (https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/science-and-impacts/science/each-countrys-share-of-co2.html). More importantly, CO2 emissions per capita, or for each person, is 6.59 metric tons in China. What is startling is that the worst polluter per capita is actually Saudi Arabia at 16.85, followed by Australia at 15.83, and finally America with 15.53. Pollution is everyone's problem, not just because it effects every one, but it's caused by everyone.
It's up to us to enact the change this world needs. In America, this means not only making choices to use less straws or recycle, but also to contact our representatives about changes to make our environment cleaner. Lots of ideas are floating around on how to solve the issue, from carbon taxes to stricter corporate regulations. Like many things, there are many correct answers, but the right one is the one we can do the fastest. In this case, trying as many as possible will help the problem. contact your representative, (https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative in the United States, similar sites should exist for most other nations) improve your footprint, and get connected. according to the UN website for climate change, (found here: https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/climate-change/) reducing emissions below a 2 degrees celsius temperature increase would have far reaching environmental benefits. A 2018 report stated that many of the problems found a the 2 degree breakpoint may still occur at 1.5 degrees, which is rapidly approaching. It is easy to say that the deadline has passed, but there is still value in throwing all of our weight against the runaway train. If we get ourselves together, we might just stop it before we go off the edge.