Changing lifestyles is the way to beat climate change
A new campaign 10:10 has been launched aiming to sign people up to reducing their carbon footprint by 10% during 2010. While there is a lot of publicity surrounding the need for countries, states and cities to cut their carbon footprint there is less focus where it matters; on individuals. With our shopping, travel, appliances, air conditioning individuals are ultimately the people driving CO2 emissions. So the work to stop climate change needs to be done at the individual level not the government level.
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We complain about the nanny state, lets do it ourselves
It is about time people stopped being hypocrites. When it comes to the government preventing us from doing what we like we cry that we have a nanny state. The 10:10 campaign is a great way to show the government that people can live their own lives and take matters of the environment into their own hands. This could progress into people taking more and more matters into their own hands and thus loosen the governments’ status as a puppeteer of the public.
Whether we like it or not, the environment is something that we need to be Nannied in! Of our own accord, individuals do not do enough. We will only do what it is comfortable for us to do. People will still drive, people will still use more packaging than necessary and people will not base their grocery shopping on the environment but price. It is for this reason that we need the government to impose limits and tax. We need them to impose restrictions on large corporations so that individuals are forced into environmental options.
People will be more likely to change if they do it of their own accord
It is more satisfying to do something knowing that you did it out of your own concerns; to not do something because the government has forced you not to is not as rewarding. If individuals change their behaviour due to their own inclinations they will be more likely to continue this behaviour throughout their daily lives. If the government were to legislate on our behaviour we would only do what the government required, and they cannot do much to change whether people drive, or whether people fly. People will feel more engaged with the environment by doing it themselves rather than feeling restricted by the government.
This gives a rather generous outlook on human behaviour. The reality is, people will make slight changes for a small period of time and then they will become complacent. Hey will think they have played their part and then they will retreat into their old habits. We cannot even be trusted to look after our own waist lines without the government prodding us, so what chance do we have of affecting the environment positively when we are so prone to fads? We need the government to make policies and legislate so that the action that we as individuals take is long term, not a short spurt.
Nearly 13,000 people have signed up since 10:10 was initiated 1st September 2009
[[James Randleson, The Guardian, 7th September 2009]]
These figures are gastronomical. If each person cut down their CO2 emissions by 10% there would be significant change made to the environment. And because so many people have signed up, each person will only have to make a small difference in their lifestyle to achieve large results across the board. This will make changing the future of our environment seem more achievable than if left in government hands to dish out a huge agenda for the environment.
‘Gastronomical’ is not the word considering that the population of the UK is 61 million [[Robin McKie, The Observer, 22March 2009]]. 13,000 people pails insignificance compared to the total population. If the Government were to legislate then all these people would have to comply. Therefore, even less change would be needed per person. This would mean that the government could impose only small changes, lower than 10% to each individual’s CO2 emissions, and more change to the environment would be made than the frugal attempts of 10:10.
Individuals are effective rather than waiting for busy government.
How can individuals be effective in actually cutting CO2 emmissions? Simple, individuals can do it. They can reduce using their airconditioners in their house if its night time (probably a cold time), They can unplug appliances which will not be necessary to be used at certain point. These little ways of an individual will tantamount to a significant decrease in CO2 emmissions if done collectively.
Why do we argue that government is busy?
We do not label that government is ineffective and has done nothing to address climate change issues. We only say that government listens to health constraints among people and improve it, how livelihood and jobs must be provided especially to young parents, how insurance policies should be regulated, crime busting and prevention. These are just the things as I have mentioned that government is actually addressing. Government needs to this because these are basic services and tax has been paid by people in order to get the service.
Going back, in implementing environmental programs, government can do this but we say that individuals can also do it. So why not, channel it to the individual level if we can actually do it. With this government will have the greater concentration on addressing other necessary things which concerns the people but could'nt be done in an individual level. For instance, on the problem of peace and order and security, it can't be solved on the individual level. On the other hand, I have proven that in implementing this solution, it can be done on the personal level. The need to adjust a little bit our lifestyles after all it will not be comfortable. You won't die doing it.
We pay taxes for the government to deal with such matters
The tax levied on petrol, cars and flights is enormous. Surely these funds should be put to environmental use rather than expecting the public to do even more! The taxes are already in place to try and control our behaviour via our pockets but people are still using such means of transport. We are paying for the luxury of using high C02 emitting materials, and that is the individual contribution. Surely matters of the environment are now on the government given that they are taking our money for it!
This is exactly the attitude that has lead to the environment being in such a sorry state; everyone passing the buck and shirking their responsibility. The reality is we cannot rely on the government to use the taxes for environmental use. The only thing that individuals truly have control of is their own behaviour. Therefore, it is our own behaviour that we should regulate to save the environment, not government.
One person changing will not affect the masses
An organizer of 10:10 admitted that ‘Voluntary individual action is never going to be enough on its own’ [[The Guardian, 8th September 2009]]. All this propaganda is about is lowering the blow before the government take over. The organizers recognize that the government needs to impose rules and sanctions in order to get people to lower their carbon emissions. The only purpose of 10:10 is to delude people into thinking that they want to voluntarily help the environment so that it softens the blow when the government starts to impose its heavy hand.
We need both government and individual to work together, neither should shirk their portion of the blame.
Voluntary action is an important step but we have to be cautious that individual action doesn't detract from what government still needs to do at Copenhagen and beyond. [[The Guardian, 8th September 2009]] We need individuals to look closely at their lives and make the appropriate changes, something which the government cannot do or enforce without imposing more taxes. What the government can do is regulate business practice and state administration. It is by this dual process that the environment will be saved, not a one man fight.
What do you think?