Do we have a duty to go green?
With the recent drive to try and preserve the environment and reduce harmful emissions do each of us have the duty to reduce our 'carbon footprint' and should financial incentives be put in place to reward those who comply?
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Breaking habits to incite change
If we are used to driving and we derive convenience from doing so, even for the shortest of trips, then this becomes a habit that we indulge in without considering the consequences for the environment. To incite a meaningful change in behaviour we should address these initial attitudes and break from these habits; making the decision to take the bus or walking and appreciating the difference this is making. Having started with small actions of this nature, the result will be an increased consideration for environmental issues.
Your argument addresses ways to make change, but does not address the reason (if one exists) that we have a duty to "go green".
And while it is admirable to use public transportation, et cetera, in replacement of cars, it is more necessary right now to acknowledge the duty that we as people have to other people. Without undermining the importance of climate change, pollution, etc, I would like to highlight the urgency of such pressing problems as genocide, hunger, poverty, violence, and abuse that occur among humans. Before we even consider a duty to "break habits and incite change", or to "go green", we must consider our duties to our fellow humans worldwide.
If our duty is to social justice, environmental stability will follow.
Weighing up the real problems
A lot of importance is placed on a multitude of small pollution preventing actions - turning the washing machine down to 30 degrees, taking the bus to work instead of the car and many more in the same vein. Although these small changes can cumulatively make a significant difference, do they not divert attention away from the real large-scale pollutants such as aircraft emissions, pollutants that would require much more funding and financially taxing alternatives to overcome? These are less the responsibility of the individual and instead issues that require governments to act. Although 'every little helps' (and turning the lights off when you leave a room really is just common sense) shouldn't the focus be on the government and industry to tackle the larger problem rather than holding the public responsible for the ailing environment?
That does not negate the fact that we as humans inhabiting the planet have an obligation to protect it. Of course the issue needs to be taken into government, that is how pressing it is. It is the <i>duty<i> of human government, individuals, etc to combat rapid climate change, whatever the cost.
What do you think?