Monday, August 29, 2011

I Am Better Than You

Read enough of the internets and you come across a reasonable number of entries in the "my lifestyle choices which will help save the world make me better than you" genre.  I don't intend to dismiss the idea that we can all make somewhat better choices which will marginally nudge the world in the right direction, but your self-righteousness will not, in fact, save the world.  Your choice to be a vegetarian, or not own a car, or stick a solar panel on your roof, doesn't even necessarily mean that your actual contribution to destroying the world is particularly low relative to other people.  You've probably made some other world destroying choices.   More than that, we all make constrained choices.  It's easy for some (me) to not own a car, for example.  I imagine my failure to breed has probably lowered my contribution somewhat, but I'd never suggest that others should not have children.

The point is that individual conservation is great, but moralizing about it is mostly just preening and ultimately saving the world requires collective action.  We should all be a bit more diligent about recycling, but only policy changes will really solve the problems.