Saying “It won’t matter if we pollute less if China and Russia don’t” is the opposite of leadership.

December 4, 2021 by Joshua
in Leadership, Nature

People say all the time that what we in the U.S. or anywhere to act sustainably doesn’t matter if China and Russia don’t act too. They say that they pollute so much that even if we don’t pollute at all, their pollution is enough to sink us all.

Whether it is or not, to say they have to act first abdicates leadership. It says we choose to follow, not lead. For us to lead, we would act first, or at least independently of others, and expect others to follow us. People think we can’t lead while setting an example. Sadly, I think many people think they only way to influence people is with authority. I don’t consider motivating through authority leadership.

I don’t see how people think we can lead by saying our behavior depends on others. Not that I think people have thought through what they would personally to. They’ve settled on what they would do or not and rationalize it with whatever excuse works. With enough people using the same specious, fatuous, self-serving reasons, those reasons become culture and people don’t challenge them.


The fastest, most effective way to lead and influence others is to start with yourself first. It’s difficult to motivate people to behave in ways that are opposite to how you act.

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter