Futility and denial

That pervading sense that anything we could do would make no difference anyway. Is this sometimes an excuse for inaction, laziness or contradictory behaviour? I believe in part it may be; we all started putting in energy-save lightbulbs, but installed massive plasma HD flatscreen TVs at the same time, which kind of took the edge off it.

Look, obviously I’m not suggesting no one is making changes. But I am saying there’s been a lot of denial going on about the state of the world, and a lot of excuses have been made to justify more status quo. You can look at the “sophisticated objection” to climate change, or New Zealand’s pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol (but don’t worry, it was “outdated” and “we never wanted to be a world leader in climate change” — thank goodness we dodged that bullet) and there’s ample cause for concern in other areas.

Sometimes it’s hard not to feel a little dispirited. The UN have reported (again) that a “global shift toward a vegan diet” will be necessary to feed the world’s growing population (with a whole slew of facts to back it up that I won’t bore you with here, but if you’re interested, they’re readily available), although many fear that the likelihood of this “global shift” actually happening is rather slim since that would be: “boring food-wise”, meat “tastes nice” and  no one has the right “to dictate what goes on my dinner plate”. Oh yeah, and it’s “tosh”.

Oh dear. A piece of advice? Never read the comments section.

Of course, the truth is that only through action will anything good ever come. We can moan that one person boycotting Coke won’t stop their (alleged) atrocities in Colombia, but if you disagree with the practices of union breaking in developing nations, then you may be left with little choice to show your distaste to the multibillion dollar multinational corporation. (And I won’t mention Apple. Whoops, I just did!) And the point is that not just one person is boycotting Coke, because people live in these complex networks of relationships I like to call societies, and they have influence on each other. Anyway, the argument that boycott doesn’t have any effect is flawed by ample evidence that the opposite is in fact true. Cadbury didn’t remove palm oil from its chocolate because it was really fun changing their recipe all the time, and neither did Nestlé.

The famous (and overused, I’m sorry) quote by Margaret Mead comes to mind: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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