One of the things that bug me the most about the frankly amazing increase in environmental awareness and the pressure put on governments, is the focus on "personal responsibility", meaning the contribution each one of us can make to save our planet.
Granted, it makes sense for every single person to do everything they possibly can to put less strain on the environment, and personally I'm trying to do my part as well. For example by not using my car for grocery shopping anymore.
I also don't doubt the concept of social proof, to show others that living a comfortable life without being destructive is possible.
Still, I find it concerning that "personal responsibility" is what a lot of media organisations and governments present as the best possible way to reduce CO2 emissions and help the environment. These increasingly feel like attempts to place the blame for environmental deterioration on the shoulders of consumers, when the big polluters are a few large corporations. The following comic by Alex Norris encapsulates the issue brilliantly:
I recently saw a tweet that I sadly cannot find anymore which neatly juxtaposed two articles in the Guardian about helping the environment. Luckily I remembered the headlines:
19 Jan 2017, Chris Goodall:
How to reduce your carbon footprint
10 July 2017, Tess Riley:
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says
Climate change and the catastrophies it's going to bring with it is a given and we're feeling the effects already (although not as much as people in developing countries). Doing one's part to reduce carbon emissions, waste, and other factors of driving our planet over the cliff, is undeniably important and a good thing to do.
What mustn't happen, though, is big corporations directing focus towards personal responsibility when they practice none and continue destroying the planet. We have hold the polluters and the institutions enabling them accountable.