This video is sponsored by brilliant. If you stick around to the end, I’ll, give you a link to 20 % off a premium membership. But what can I do that single question has followed me like a Spectre ever since I started this YouTube channel over three years ago, often upon hearing about one of the many terrifying effects of climate change, my mom, my friends or hundreds of commentaries on my videos, All ask a simple question: what can we as individuals do about climate change? I also have been seeking the answer to that question, but I also really want to know why we asked this so much.
Why is this our burning question about stopping climate change today? I’m, going to explore the cultural context that has led to our fixation on individually, reducing our carbon footprints. A fixation that in many ways has prevented many of us from imagining a way to act collectively.
Instead, as a chaos caused by climate change grows larger year after year, so to do the cries to action, but environmental action seems to have been cleaved into two distinct paths toward stopping and ultimately reversing climate change, personal actions and systemic changes.
This tension takes shape most visibly in the back-and-forth flow of media, where new sources and blogs pour out their top lists for individual cures to climate change that inevitably gets shouted down by cries for collective action as the only medicine for our climatic problem.
Individual action versus systemic change – that is, the binary option supplied to us in our fight to save the world. From the start, the individual option is flawed because it subscribes to an ideology that continues to prolong the problem of climate change.
This notion that the solution to such a massive global issue can be solved through individual lifestyle. Changes like buying an electric car is a culturally specific one, based in neoliberal thought, championed by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
The hyper individualistic mentality of neoliberalism pervades our current world. The agenda of neoliberalism is, as journalist, Martin Lucas writes, headlined by policies of privatization, deregulation, tax cuts and free trade deals, all of which de-emphasizes the individual as a citizen able to take collective action and instead transforms them into a consumer who, as Lucas, goes on to Write is more prone to self-reliance than communal interdependence.
It’s with this lens, then that we should understand the task of individual action, because individual action is important, but it’s also limited, focusing on what the individual can do. Frequently means that we are not asking what the collective can do when we talk about individual actions, I mean a transformation and lifestyle for those that are financially and physically able to plenty of people in countries like the US, which has one of the highest per capita Emissions rates in the world who have the luxury of embracing market-based individual solutions to climate change, and if you’re curious as to what those solutions are, multiple studies have calculated what the most effective lifestyle changes are for.
Someone wanting to reduce their carbon footprint according to one study by Seth wines and Kimberly, Nicholas foregoing a car having fewer children or embracing a plant-based diet, are some of the most effective ways.
An individual can slash their own carbon footprint, but these individual solutions can be morally and politically wrongheaded, as in the case of using eugenicist arguments to regulate someone’s reproductive future and can also be costly, difficult or downright impossible, especially for marginalized people.
Not using a car is feasible for some people in certain neighborhoods of cities with plentiful public transit, but for many in the disabled community, for example, a car is a necessity to get around or if your only option is to get to work or a 25 minute Drive or a two hour transit via public transportation that is often inaccessible.
You’re more than likely to choose the car. Additionally city’s structurally divest from poor, neighborhoods and predominantly non-white communities. So there tends to be less public transits in those areas.
So while there are individual environmental solutions, they need to be viewed in a much broader context as short-term harm reduction strategies rather than the cure-all to climate change. These ways of individual change are based on the idea of the individual as the consumer, not as a citizen.
There are individual actions, however, that don’t rely on a consumer mindset to enact change like voting for candidates with strong climate action proposals and holding representatives accountable by calling them.
As Mary Anais Hagler writes in a box article, we need to broaden our definition of personal action beyond what we buy or use start by changing your light bulb, but don’t stop there. We all too often focus on the individual market, oriented solutions to the answer attaching virtue to those who compost their food scraps and labeling those that fly on airplanes as sinners.
This over emphasis on individual action Hagler goes on to write, shames people for their everyday activities. Things that they can barely avoid doing because of the fossil fuel dependent system they are born into.
We are essentially blaming the victim and by focusing on the individual, we miss the much bigger culprits to the problem of climate change. The 100 companies responsible for 71 percent of the world’s, global emissions and the government policies that allow them to do it.
Naomi Klein puts it bluntly in an interview with channel 4. If you can’t be an activist unless you have already somehow purged your whole life of fossil fuels, then you & # 39. Ll, have an actor you & # 39.
Ll have a movement of three people which is great for the fossil fuel companies. It’s, an incredibly effective way to repel activists to make people afraid to participate because they don’t want to be called a hypocrite.
In short, individual actions like not driving a car while important are akin to throwing a bucket of water onto a burning house. It will quench some flames, but it distracts you from the fact that it will take a lot more than one bucket to stop the inferno destroying your house.
This is where collective action comes in individual harm reduction strategies need to go hand-in-hand with broader societal solutions to climate change. We live in a global economy where it’s extremely hard to not use fossil fuels.
A world filled with terrible choices. If we don & # 39, t work to change government policies and pressure corporations to transform then to steel, Hagler’s. Metaphor: we’ll just be sweeping, leaves on a windy day.
With this in mind, it doesn’t matter. If you drive a car to work or need to use a plastic straw, the key is to galvanize enough public pressure on governments and industries to pass legislation like the green new deal, which would transform our economy.
So you don’t have to choose between the environment making rent at the end of the month. But what is collective action? Look like in practice? It can be so many things you could host a letter-writing campaign, urging a company to strengthen their environmental policies or canvas for strong environmental leaders.
It could be holding consciousness-raising spaces for people to educate each other and connect over how climate change affects their lives. It can mean gathering together to protest, to hold your elected officials accountable or blocking the construction of emissions, heavy infrastructure.
It means looking at the work that’s already being done and joining it. It could even mean creating art installations within your community, forcing local government and industries to be more aggressive on climate issues.
The opportunities are endless. Ultimately, the answer to the question: what can I do about climate change? Is this? Do what you can individually like biking to work or air drying your clothes instead of using a machine, but don’t, stop there and avoid attaching moral superiority to those actions.
The only way we can truly stop climate change is to act less as individuals and more as a collective voice to force emissions, heavy industries to move past the age of carbon and urge our elected officials to represent our voices.
Climate action, then, is all about holding two truths in mind. We must work to create a better world now through personal actions, while simultaneously striving for a better future together, imagining and then creating the shape of a world without emissions where you don’t have to commit a quote/unquote environmental sin just to get to Work: [, Music, ].
According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change, full-scale societal restructuring is essential within the next 11 years if we are to keep global surface temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
But in order to do that, we & # 39. Ll need scientists, mathematicians and engineers, among others, to help envision and create a world without emissions. Luckily, brilliant is already teaching the next generation of problem solvers through an amazing selection of online courses that use interactive, puzzles to hone critical mathematical and scientific thinking.
Skills. Brilliant is a course based website that lets. You explore the realms of math and science through storytelling code writing and interactive quizzes, which is exactly what you’ll, get when you dive into their mathematical fundamentals course.
This course is awesome because you’re, not just sitting back and reading. Instead, brilliant will guide you through the ins and outs of topics, like number theory, with engaging games and puzzles. Ultimately, if you’re like me, and always looking for new ways of understanding the world or just simply want to explore topics like geometry or physics through interactive courses, then brilliant is the way to go.
So if you want to start developing your logical brain, go to brilliant org, slash, OCC or click the link in the description and sign up for free as a bonus, the first 200 people that go to that link will get 20 % off their annual premium membership.
Everyone, Charlie here this video, as always, was made possible by my patreon supporters each month my patreon supporters vote on an environmental organization that I then donate a portion of my patreon profits to.
So if you’re interested in supporting the channel head on over to patreon and pledge your support, hope you enjoyed the video, and I will see you in two weeks.