Climate Change

Climate Change: Why We Don’t Care About It

Climate Change: Just how concerned are you about it? The climate powers water, wind, and protects us as we live on our tiny blue planet. It nurtures and drives the ebb and flow of life. But why aren’t more of us bothered about this deeply complex system?

Climate change concerns around three-quarters of Americans, if you take a recent poll at face value:

American women are far more concerned than men about climate change (51% of women see it as a very serious problem vs. only 39% of men). They are also more likely to believe it will affect them personally (36% very concerned vs. 23%) and more likely to believe major lifestyle changes will be required to deal with the issue (75% to 57%).

Unfortunately the actions of the American people don’t reflect their words. Take electric cars for example:

The market share of plug-in electric passenger cars increased from 0.14% of new car sales in 2011 to 0.37% in 2012, 0.62% in 2013, and reached 0.72% of new car sales during 2014.

So the vast majority of cars in the US today run petrol or diesel. Perhaps car share is on the rise? No, it isn’t:

Carpooling has tanked—falling from about 20% in 1980, when gasoline prices were soaring from the oil shock of the late 1970s, to under 10% in 2012. Public transportation accounted for just over 6% of daily commutes in 1980 and is now 5%. A category the Census calls “other means”—which includes biking—stands at 2%, largely unchanged over the past decade.

Well, perhaps cycling to work is becoming popular? Unfortunately not:

One thing the study made clear is that daily commuting to work and school is still rare in this country. Fifteen percent of Americans rode a bike at least once for transportation purposes in the last year, but only 10 percent of those, or about 4.5 million people, identified as the kind of regular riders who commute by bike at least 100 days per year.

Why bother about climate change?

So, it appears that despite what people say to the pollsters, the evidence reveals that the majority aren’t particularly bothered about climate change. Perhaps they should read Seneca?

From Of a Happy Life:

How long shall we covet and oppress, enlarge our possessions, and account that too little for one man which was formerly enough for a nation? And our luxury is as insatiable as our avarice. Where is that lake, that sea, that forest, that spot of land; that is not ransacked to gratify our palate? The very earth is burdened with our buildings; not a river, not a mountain, escapes us. Oh, that there should be such boundless desires in our little bodies! Would not fewer lodgings serve us? We lie but in one, and where we are not, that is not properly ours. What with our hooks, snares, nets, dogs, etc., we are at war with all living creatures; and nothing comes amiss but that which is either too cheap, or too common; and all this is to gratify a fantastical palate. Our avarice, our ambition, our lusts, are insatiable; we enlarge our possession, swell our families, we rifle sea and land for matter of ornament and luxury. A bull contents himself with one meadow, and one forest is enough for a thousand elephants; but the little body of a man devours more than all other living creatures.

It’s up to us to reduce our desires and demands; to learn to be content with fewer possessions. Consuming less is more important than buying green. Try to simplify your life so you’re cutting back on the complexity of what you do and what you own. When you make a effort to do this you’re taking a stand against consumerism. A stand against the mindset that we need to buy to solve our problems, that we need more and bigger.

What’s more this is a personal choice. You don’t need to listen to the ceaseless doom and gloom rhetoric about climate change from our media and politicians. You need to take control of your thoughts, make a choice and stick to it.

What do you think? Leave a comment below:

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