“Corporations should change, not consumers” and other nonsense

May 22, 2021 by Joshua
in Nature

People say, “only governments and corporations can make a difference.” Here’s a version of the Addiction Speaking from a magazine piece, “Focusing on how individuals can stop climate change is very convenient for corporations”:

Calvin it's not fair

While individuals may have a role to play, appealing to individual virtues for addressing climate change is something akin to victim-blaming because it shifts the burden from those who ought to act to those who are most likely to be affected by climate change. A far more just and effective approach would be to hold those who are responsible for climate change accountable for their actions.

Do you see the false dichotomy, that either individuals act or we change corporations? Always “not me, not now”—the opposite of responsibility. On the contrary, individuals changing will change corporations faster. Systemic change begins with personal transformation.

Personal mindfulness and action is exactly what changes systems. People say to start with individual action, not stop with it.

Saying ‘”it’s the consumer’s fault” is corporate apologists’ tricking everyone and leaving it there creates a straw man and division for no gain.

We can all act immediately. Taking responsibility to act is different than assigning blame. Citizens acting need not only result in just individual gains. We can lead others, which multiplies our effects. In fact, leading others is the biggest effect we can make, but we can only do it if we lead ourselves first.

Besides, implying using less pollution is a burden, sacrifice, or deprivation misses that life polluting less is more free and joyful. Maybe you really like polluting activities, but I don’t, so acting to reduce my pollutiong makes me happier.

One result of my acting and increasing happiness among many is that politicians and CEOs come to me for advice. I’ve had several of New York City’s mayoral candidates on my podcast, as well as Congressmembers, Senate candidates, star athletes and actors, and my influence is just beginning.

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