Conservatives have their ways of stopping themselves from thinking too. I’ll cover them in another post. Actually, everyone stops themselves from thinking and acting. For example, people of all backgrounds parrot some version of
I care about the environment and act as much as I can, but I can’t do everything. I have to balance it with other real-life concerns, like safety for my children and how much time I have. Since I do as much as I can, I’m really one of the good guys.
Liberal and environmental ways to stop thinking
1. They say:
You probably didn’t know it, but BP publicized the concept of the personal carbon footprint to shift the blame to individuals and distract from themselves. You’re playing into their hands when you look at individual footprints. We have to get them to change, not us.
Do I have to explain how misguided and counterproductive this view is? For one thing, systemic change begins with personal change. You can’t change a system or lead other people to live by values you live the opposite of. Underneath it all, they treat acting sustainably like a burden or chore, so propagate the values and beliefs that are driving the system they want to change.
I hope they realize instead that looking and learning from your personal footprint helps you change it, which will improve your life, so you’ll wish you had earlier. Then don’t stop there. Use what you learned to lead other people, politicians, and corporations to act to.
But don’t resist acting because a company you don’t like told you to act.
2. They say:
Your idea or practice won’t work for a single mom in a food desert with three kids and three jobs. You’re out of touch.
Ironically, having worked with single moms in food deserts, none of them responded this way. They want solutions, not to act baselessly condescending. The point, though, is that if someone suggests eating local, say, buying from farmers markets and food coops, that person knows that farmers markets and food coops aren’t as common as corner delis. No one is so stupid to think that everyone has access to farmers markets and coops. The point is to create more of them, not to leave things as they are, so pointing out how they are now just shows you aren’t paying attention.
3. They say:
Conservatives and deniers just want power for themselves. They won’t say it out loud, but they’re only motivated by greed and selfishness. They only care about their own interests.
That’s how they look at you too. That conclusion happens when you condescend instead of learn their motivations. In the process you lose the ability to influence them.
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On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees