Derrick Jensen, activist and author: “…Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet?…
“…I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change…”
You can read more of his article from Orion magazine here. Unfortunately he provides almost no answers other than taking on the system. I seem to remember that An Inconvenient Truth advocated that individuals reduce their carbon footprints and consume less and more wisely, but also that they use political and social power as well.
The reason I’m beating this drum today is that I read an alarming (although not alarmist) article in Business Day yesterday about how climate change is affecting fishermen (and women) here in the Western Cape and how the rainfall in the Southern Cape has changed drastically for the worse. It’s easy to overlook the effects of climate change here in Cape Town. What’s a bit more rain here and there and some hotter days in summer? But for those living a few hundred kilometres away, their lives are much worse off now as a result of global warming.
I also read an interesting take on personal and climate change as part of this year’s Blog Action Day (the theme of which is Climate Change). I’ll be interested to read some more on this so let me know if you have any articles or links to recommend.
As for personal change, that’s a subject for a lifetime’s worth of blogs (and books) itself.