Opinionated Editorials
Climate Change – What’s stopping us?

Climate Change – What’s stopping us?

The encroaching uninhabitability of our beloved home planet is a matter of great worry, not only for the human species but for all living beings. As the self-proclaimed “smartest species” on this planet, our actions and our treatment of the very thing that sustains us, has been anything but smart. We have taken a flourishing environment, with life thriving in all four corners, and massacred it. Our irreverent attitude towards the environment puts me at a loss of words – something that’s rather unfortunate for someone trying to pen an article.

“Oh well, a dying planet! Surely we can reverse the effects of climate change if the right measures are taken.” This might be one of the thoughts that cross your mind when you read about climate change and have a primordial grasp on the subject. Yes, we can; but we won’t. The unwillingness of world leaders, most of whom have lived out the better part of their lives, to take action against climate offenders is deplorable. What may be the reason for the obstinate stance that they’ve taken? Why it’s because the major contributors to today’s climate crisis are big corporations and megalomaniacal billionaires that fund elections. Surely their interests can’t take a backseat.

Capitalism is not all about climbing to the top and living your best life, it also has a ginormous carbon footprint. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the concept of capitalism, not in the least. I do, however, have a few issues with how it’s practiced. Unsustainably. Corporations produce astronomical amounts of toxic waste and pollutants that go on to destroy our dwindling ecosystem. Sure, policymakers may pass a law or two to “regulate” toxic emissions and whatnot, but their purpose is purely ornamental. On ground, there is little to no implementation of such laws.

Corporations, which mercilessly dump millions of metric tonnes of waste into our delicate ecosystems, are however the lesser evil. The greater evil? Corporations that hide behind the garb of being “eco-friendly” with business practices that are anything but. They use this label of being environment-conscious as a marketing gambit. Making profits off of our dying planet is one thing, but making profits while lying about it to your consumers? Consumers who may have only chosen your brand because of it being a greener choice? Not only destroying the planet but also destroying any honest bone you may have had in your body? Unacceptable. Such exploitation of our living world, of people’s consciousness cannot and should not be tolerated.

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They say change starts small. I beg to differ. Change starts big. Shifting the blame onto individual consumers for not using cloth bags, or making greener choices, or using a plastic straw is ludicrous. Consumers will only use what you produce for them. If industries keep producing plastic bottles, then guess what? People will keep using plastic bottles. Switching to eco-friendly options at the production level, undertaking sustainable business practices, terminating all exploitative practices: such measures are key to solving the climate crisis. It will take much too long to change things at the demand end, you’re talking about educating billions of people about the ramifications of something as seemingly small as using a straw. I’m not dismissing the concept of individual change altogether; it indeed holds a lot of value in the fight against climate change. Making personal choices that benefit the environment are always welcome. The point I’m trying to drive home is that unless accompanied by appropriate measures at the legal and corporate level, individual change means nothing.

We are a penny-pinching species and most green choices cost much more than their destructive counterparts, a sustainable lifestyle in the urban world is one only a fortunate few can choose to lead. This calls for a change at the supply end. Stopping production of toxic materials such as plastics and switching to the eco-options that the world keeps preaching to consumers yet dismissing for producers would be a good start. Mass production of such green products would bring down costs, making sustainability accessible to large chunks of the population. Reducing, or better yet, stopping production of non-biodegradable materials would drive up their cost, incentivizing consumers to go green. 

The world sits on a tipped scale. I don’t get to make the decisions. The guy in a suit, profiting off of exploitative fishing practices gets to decide whether the ocean as we know it is worth saving. The tech giant sitting in his cushy condo gets to decide whether millions in third-world countries get vaccinated. The onus is on the rich and privileged. All eyes are on them. Will they save us? Or will they leave us languishing in a barren desert we once called our home? 

– Lubna Asif

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