Dealing With Collapse - Should It Be Personal or Communal?

David Trammel's picture

Over the course of the last six months, since Greta Thunberg's rise as a global climate activist, Greer (and many others) have discussed whether some of her actions, like taking a multi-million dollar racing boat to travel across the Atlantic, is actually the correct thing to do, when taking a slower commercial ship or even an airplane would have resulted in far fewer carbon emissions. This has lead to a further discussion, whether cutting down on your own personal energy footprint is the more important thing, or whether government (and communal) actions to lower all of Society's footprint is more important.

This article provides a bare bones look at both sides of the argument:

Does Greta Thunberg’s Lifestyle Equal Climate Denial? One Climate Scientist Seems To Suggest So.

"The climate debate has taken a nasty turn. It is no longer a shouting match between climate affirmers and climate deniers. Now the finger-wagging is taking place among climate affirmers on the subject of personal responsibility for combating climate change. There are two key actors in this unfolding saga. One embraces the importance of individual responsibility while the other derides it."


Seems to me that this clearly falls into the false binary that Greer so often writes about. The habit too many people have of making it all about just two opposed choices, either cut your own footprint OR go after the big polluters. Or "man-made" or "natural" climate change.

Why not do both?

That's the third option, cut your own footprint AND advocate for major communal action.

Quite a few of us here, are of an age where we will never see the full effects of Civilization's collapse into the Long Descent, nor the real and far reaching changes that a weather made chaotic will do. Does that mean those of us should do nothing?

Of course not because cutting your energy footprint, growing some of your own food, doing with less of the happy glittery crap that is marketed to us all the time isn't just good for the planet, its good for us individually. We can debate all day long whether the wild fires and hurricanes we see now are a direct result of climate weirding but what is hard to argue against is how much better your life is if you do make those changes in your life.

Either way, that is what Green Wizardry is here for.

Blueberry's picture

So who is the puppet master? Quote by Oscar Wilde, " I am not young enough to know everything."

I don't understand the binary choice either. The 'Government' MUST force us to make the changes we could make ourselves?
Why not make those changes anyway?
If nothing else, they frequently save $$$ leaving more $$$ for things you can't avoid: like home heating oil in the winter.

Be more efficient AND use less.

Yes, government can mandate lower energy usage standards, but that doesn't always work either.

My ultra-high efficiency washer lasted less than 8 years! My much-missed old Kenmore would still be running today if someone hadn't left a bobby pin or a nail in a pocket. How are ultra-high efficiency government-mandated standards useful in the long-term if it means replacing appliances sooner rather than later?Making new washers takes plenty of energy too.

Do both!

Teresa from Hershey

ClareBroommaker's picture

Doing what I can personally is easier for me than any kind of public action, especially communal action, including petitioning local, state, or federal government for effective action and helpful laws. Partly that is because I am just a reserved person and partly that is because I am not clever enough to understand how to fix a whole society.

I smile at my own high efficiency washer continuing to work after eight years (8 years last month), for my washer is a bucket, a plunger, and my arm power. True, it has needed one repair (some glue), as rust weakened the threads on the screw-in handle. I can take my washer out to the back yard to work in the sunshine in pleasant weather, and dump grey water on the plants without having to fiddle with any pumps or piping. If I want, I can use the washer bucket to gather tomatoes in the garden. Is any Maytag or Miele that versatile?

Blueberry's picture
David Trammel's picture

Good find and read the follow on post too.