The biggest challenge to sustainability isn’t a lack of solar panels or carbon taxes. They result from our behavior, which results from our beliefs and culture. Among the biggest challenges is changing those beliefs. To change them, we have to identify them.
I think we know they aren’t supposed to be true, just satisfy our consciences enough to let us sleep at night, that I can call them lies. We know we’re lying to ourselves. It helps to see them in print.
Lies we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night while knowingly polluting
- In medieval times serfs worked dawn to dusk in misery, dying at 30, and stone age man lived worse. We may be polluting, but we live better than ever and risk reverting to them if we let up on producing energy however we can.
- If I don’t keep up with the Joneses, or society in general, I’ll lose status.
- If my nation doesn’t keep up, other nations will economically beat us.
- If my nation doesn’t keep up, other nations will invade us.
- If we don’t do it, others will.
- Individual action doesn’t matter.
- Life without sources of energy beyond what we had before the Industrial Revolution is suffering.
- Technology has net improved life and will keep improving it.
- “Renewables” are renewable or even sustainable.
- Nuclear helps.
- Our lives benefit from comfort and convenience more than challenge and effort.
- Efficiency reduces pollution, including recycling.
- Growth always helps the economy.
- Amazon.com helps poor people.
- McDonald’s and takeout saves people time.
- Because food deserts lack farmers markets, they are not a solution.
- Because poor single parents with multiple jobs lack time, cooking is not a solution.
- People with “privilege” don’t understand challenges of people who work for a living, so offer no value and should be ignored.
- Litter results from too little sanitation.
- One person reducing polluting does nothing to change a system and only makes people feel bad, which can make things worse.
- Reducing and sustainability mean deprivation, sacrifice, burden, and chore.
- Malthus, Limits to Growth, and their peers predicted doom, which didn’t happen, so they were wrong, as are all other predictions of collapse, and we’re fine.
- We’ll be fine. Things will work out as they always have.
- When things get bad enough, we’ll come together and act.
- I’m trying hard and doing my best so I’m one of the good ones.
- I’m not addicted.
- Acting on the environment distracts from what I care about more, such as basic values like family and earning a living.
I expect I’ll identify more and add to the list.
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