People who raise the hue and cry for the government to do something about the environmental issues the world faces should start the solution at the personal level. There are a myraid of things that an individual (multiply by approximately 200,000,000 to get the gross effect) can do on a daily basis. I will list a few:
- Stop driving everywhere. That effects petroleum consumption, carbon emissions, and one's weight. Walk or bicycle, or at the very least use public transport. Yes, I know that for some it is a humiliation beyond comprehension to ride with "the po' folk". In a lot of cases I think people would find a surprise at who *actually* rides the buses, the Els, and other public conveyances. I certainly had no trouble getting around Manhattan on the subway, other than figuring out the usual point-A-to-point-B issues.
- Unless one's profession requires living remotely (farming and ranching come to mind), think about why one feels the need to live somewhere that requires more than a couple of miles of driving to obtain daily necessities, or to commute to work. What is truly one's motivation for a home that is far removed from a community, and does not function in any productive fashion?
- Lose weight. It takes more energy to haul obese people around; it costs more in the medical care to keep obese people at least functional (not to mention the chemical by-products from pharmaceutical manufacturing); it costs more to clothe them, and (rather obviously) to feed them. (see #1).
- Pay attention not only to what one eats, but whence it comes, and the footprint it takes to produce. As an example: beef cattle are the least efficient in terms of the space required to produce by a fairly wide margin. I don't have the statistics that I read recently right at hand, but I think I'll track them down for the purposes of this discussion. If one needs meat (as I do on occasion), as the commercial says: Eat mor chikin. Or fish. Or rabbit. And, whenever possible, eat local produce (minimal transportation, refrigeration and packaging).
- Pay attention to packaging. Is it necessary to buy everything in hermetically sealed plastic which will require a couple of centuries at minimum to bio-degrade, or packaged in metal?
- Stop making babies. Encourage other people to stop making babies. It's environmentally irresponsible (see the first five items, and multiply by the number of children). It is socially irresponsible, since so many of them will be more likely to be part of a problem than part of a solution.
- Vacations: they're a psychological appendage which for practical purposes is about as useful as wings on a chicken; they are a barbaric leftover from the industrial revolution. There is so much to be done right where one lives - instead of stuffing kith and kin into the minivan or SUV and driving all over the place, find constructive work to do (that is dissociated with one's 'day job') within one's community. "A change of work is the best rest." [Conan Doyle]
Just a few thoughts - anyone with functioning brains can extrapolate from there.