When It All Feels So Hopeless
All of us have a “carbon footprint.” While our actions as individuals are important, refining our choices as consumers is only a small part of addressing global problems.
I am not a fan of the “blame game.” Criticizing someone’s behavior rarely leads to positive change. Better to try to understand the root causes of a problem, than to criticize others for their actions as individuals.
The intent of this article is to educate, not promote shame and feelings of hopelessness.
We’ve all seen the photos of the islands of plastic floating around our oceans. We have seen the mountains of plastic debris in the Global South; the result of the plastic recycling lies we have been told. We can try not to purchase items in plastic containers, we can carry our own reusable water bottles, we can organize trash clean-ups — all these things are helpful — but as long as the corporations that are our biggest polluters keep producing plastic, our well-intentioned individual choices will not solve our plastic pollution problems.
#breakfreefromplastic is an organization that offers actual solutions. I learned of this organization through my interest in The Story of Stuff, a community-minded, solutions-focused, and action-oriented organization. Just check out their movies and videos here.
This community of change-makers offers learning tools, including a “ChangeMaker Personality Quiz” that will help you decide what role you can play in solving pollution, climate change, and sustainability challenges. There are even youth groups involved, along with a high school curriculum for teachers. This organization has world-wide participation.
What kind of changemaker are you? Resister, Networker, Nurturer, Investigator, Communicator, or Builder (or a combination of these)? I find the Changemaker Quiz really useful when talking to people who feel that old age and physical imitations prevent them from participating in beach clean-ups or marches, but who still want to be involved in community efforts.
The problem of pollution lies with corporations. I recommend starting here to learn how corporations have been placing the blame for pollution on individuals for decades. Keep America Beautiful (KAB) is a non-profit organization that works on behalf of some of our largest, most-polluting corporations. Remember the “Crying Indian” PSA from the 1970’s. Let’s blame the people, not the corporations who make the toxic stuff.
Educate yourself about the origins of our pollution and climate change problems, and you may realize that there is actually something you can do. Corporations are working overtime to keep you ignorant and blaming yourself.
Wake up! Hold the real culprits responsible.