People measure their carbon footprints in tons of CO2 equivalents and their ecological footprints in similar ways. Those measures make sense because the suffering and early deaths we will cause other humans (and wildlife) occurs in proportion to the amount of greenhouse gases we emit.
But I see another important measure. How much money do we contribute to extracting, polluting, and emitting. When we fill our gas tanks, pay for plastic things, and buy airplane tickets, we fund:
- Future extraction, pollution, and depletion
- Corrupting our government
- Advancing a culture of dependence and isolation through advertising, lobbying, and such
- Hurting people (and wildlife)
and all the harmful results you know.
How much do you fund polluting and depleting?
Most people I ask say they spend a few tens of thousands of dollars per year to fund more extracting, polluting, and depleting, and lobbying for more. I know a few people who spend much more. One first-class plane ticket can cost a few thousand dollars.
How much do you spend promoting polluting and depleting?
If you try to achieve carbon neutrality, can you achieve cash neutrality? I’m not sure you can. What would it mean? Getting money back from polluting, depleting industries? Is that flow possible, or are you just funding it in one direction?
Can you think of anyone working in sustainability trying to lower how much they fund those they oppose?
Where do you think industries get money for lobbying and advertising? You, of course!
Exxon doesn’t buy its products. We do. That’s how they can afford to coopt the government.
People who go to marches and protests: how much do the effects of your protests compare with how much you fund more extraction, government corruption, and such?
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees