Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #1399999
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"JAFBG" | Prompt ▼
While I do understand and appreciate the power of collective action, I'm not one of those people who thinks that climate change can be combatted by individual households giving up single-use plastic drinking straws, or using reusable shopping bags only, or going vegan. I think meaningful change to climate policy is going to have to come from high-level changes from large corporations and governments. That, unfortunately, is an opinion that a whole lot of people use to justify doing nothing, so I'm going to still try to attempt to answer the question of what I individually would be willing to give up when I don't think it's necessarily individual choices that will make the most difference.
The two biggest things I can think of giving up would be, depending on the consumer good, low prices and/or convenience.
The meat industry is a great example of one where I don't think personal choices (individuals not eating meat) make much difference but the industry as a whole is a major contributor to climate change (not to mention animal cruelty) due to current production standards which emphasize a cheap product over anything else. I would be willing to pay significantly more for meat if it meant changing the industry in a way where meat production was sustainable, environmentally friendly, and cruelty-free. I'd also be open to consuming meat alternatives more often if it meant combatting climate change. If we were in a world where a hamburger cost $20 instead of $5, I would consider that a reasonable tradeoff for making that industry greener and more forward-thinking.
I realize the "It's fine, I'll just pay more" rationale is one that comes from a place of great privilege though, so I would also be willing to give up my greatest resource (time) if it meant better climate outcomes.
Earlier this month, I read a Wall Street Journal article by Life & Work reporter Rachel Wolfe entitled "I Rented an Electric Car for a Four-Day Road Trip. I Spent More Time Charging It Than I Did Sleeping ," which chronicled her drive from New Orleans to Chicago using an electric-only EV. Her big takeaway from that experience was that the EV was cheaper (she spent $175 on charging and would have spent an estimated $275 on gas with a traditional gas-powered vehicle), but the lack of EV charging infrastructure along the way meant that they spent a lot of time sitting around waiting for their car to charge.
If I'm being completely honest, that's why the last car I bought (back in 2015) was a hybrid rather that a fully-electric EV. I was concerned that it would be a challenge to find charging stations and that would make the car impractical for long trips. I specifically drive from Orange County to Sacramento (a 500-mile drive) to visit family a few times a year, and the idea of stopping four or five times to charge the car for a couple hours at a time seems like a nightmare. That would turn a seven-ish hour drive into a literal all-day affair and, if you've ever been to central California, you know there's not a lot to see between Los Angeles and Sacramento!).
But as climate change worsens and I see what little is being done about it, I really do think our next vehicle purchase will be an EV. Not just because battery technology and charging stations are getting better and better every year, but because - at this point - I'm prepared the take on the inconvenience of the EV charging grid if it means getting us farther away from our reliance on fossil fuels and the massive damage to the climate that the non-renewable energy industry is causing.