Why bother with individual action if it doesn’t change systems and similar, ignorant questions

February 3, 2022 by Joshua
in Choosing/Decision-Making, Models, Nature

Why bother with individual action if it alone doesn’t change systems?

The ignorance behind that question astounds me. I’ll put the question in parallel, equally ignorant forms:

Why bother changing your baby’s diaper if it doesn’t solve infant mortality?

Why take the first step of a marathon if it doesn’t take you across the finish line?

Why eat healthy or exercise if it doesn’t solve obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?

Why obey the law if it doesn’t stop crime?

You might point out that changing a baby’s diaper is different than solving infant mortality. Exactly. Each is worth doing on its own, just like individual action and systemic change.

Why live by your values?

Why live by your values? If you value polluting for your self-indulgence, keep polluting. It’s killing people by the tens of millions annually, but whatever, you can tell yourself individual actions don’t matter. If you value the Golden Rule, what more do you need to know than that pollution kills people and stewardship through not polluting leads to a life of joy and bliss, even if you don’t believe it?

How do you think systems change if no one changes first?

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