When pollution happens

August 7, 2021 by Joshua
in Blog

If I talk about not flying, someone is bound to tell me how their spouse lives overseas so they have to fly to visit family or their mother lives on the other coast so they have to fly to see her on holidays and if she’s sick.

People walking with disposable containers claim the store cashier gave them the bags and packaging. What could they do?

We claim we’re helpless victims of others imposition. “I don’t want packaged food or to pollute with flying, but what else could I do?”

These are questions of accounting. To whom and to what time do we assign responsibility for the pollution? Simply accepting people’s abdication of their responsibility would be like a business believing each department claiming it wasn’t responsible for its expenses. Of course each department wants to look empty of blame and full of profitability, so they all claim they’re not responsible. If you chose to live far from your mom or dad, when you moved, you locked in the emissions

A business that poorly accounts for costs and revenues will go out of business. So will a society that doesn’t account for pollution.

I suggest we all take more responsibility for how our behavior affects others.

When pollution happens

To allocate responsibility for polluting, I suggest when you choose something that locks in the polluting behavior matters more than when the polluting happened.

For example, when you decided to live far from family, you incurred the pollution that came from flying to visit.

Speaking of accounting, the size of how much you pay usually determines your contribution to pollution. For example, flying first class versus coach, some people measure their responsibility by how much extra weight they add, but that’s specious. How much you pay isn’t an ironclad measure, but it’s pretty good. If you fly first class, you take up more space, which generally limits how many people can board. The amount more you pay for first class indicates how much you pollute relative to others on the plane.

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