“What’s the point?”

by | 12 Jan 2023

“What’s the point?”

Is a question I’ve been asked may times over the years when discussing being greener. This question is often closely followed by the genius “climate change isn’t real” and “we can’t make a difference anyway, it’s up to the government to make things better, not us”… 

The younger version of me would no doubt have been astounded at the stupidity I was hearing, become angry, started ranting in response, trying to educate on so many green angles and issues all at once, and getting absolutely nowhere in the process…

The older me is still astounded at the stupidity, but has learnt that rants, while being very useful, shouldn’t be the automatic go to response…

These days I remind myself to take a more considered approach when responding, and try to understand where the questions have really stemmed from. There are so many different reasons why people think they have no power to make any green changes or have any real impact, or think the climate crisis is one big conspiracy theory, so understanding what these reasons are, helps adapt and focus my responses accordingly, and not enter into a debate about it.

I’ve never really been highly skilled at debating, it always seems too much like a passive aggressive argument where you spend a lot of energy trying to prove you are ‘right’ and the other side is ‘wrong’…

I’m more of a fan of open conversations to really discuss and understand a topic, so asking questions and listening to the real reasons (if any) behind these types of “what’s the point?” questions really does help.

Although, sometimes a rant really is necessary! And deep down I think we all love having a good rant occasionally!

This blog isn’t a rant, but it is in response to some comments I read recently which were disappointing to see. Climate change denial and what’s the point comments are a reminder of how far we still have to go with our education and understanding of the huge climate crisis we are all facing…

So, firstly to address “what is the point?”

There are so many ‘points’ to being greener that it is impossible to cover them all in one blog… being greener is a huge topic and in reality will mean different things to different people… but, in basic terms, the point in trying to be greener is that we are all accountable and responsible for our actions and impact on this planet, and we all want to continue living our lives on this planet, and this is the only planet we have!

As humans we have had a hugely negative impact on the planet. Scientific advances enable us to clearly see the damage we have done, and continue to inflict, every single day, worldwide. When you start looking at the science the results are both heartbreaking and terrifying.

But the science can also help us understand how to stop and reverse this damage to the planet, collectively it isn’t too late for us to make changes, that is the point.

Now to “climate change isn’t real”

This blunt shut down statement really does baffle me…

There are multiple reasons behind why people think the climate crisis or climate change isn’t real, and again these cannot all be covered in a single blog post…

But science is telling us there is a big climate problem! Scientists have been providing us with environmental red flags for years and years, and still people choose to ignore the science

Science is the basis of how we live so much of our everyday lives. Perhaps we are now so used to the science surrounding us that we take it for granted… it seems crazy to accept so much of what science can do for us every single day, but then choose not to listen to science in regards to climate change and the environment in which we all live…

The topic of climate change isn’t simple, just thinking about what it ‘means’ can create so many rabbit holes to get lost down! So education is the key here. To understand climate change and climate crisis, we first need to understand how climate works, and how we are all impacted by it. We need to listen to the science, not ignore it, and start to educate ourselves.

And finally “we can’t make a difference anyway, it’s up to the government to make things better, not us”…

This is a bit of a cop out statement!

Continuing as you are and waiting for someone else or something else to make things better is a waste of time as nothing will change if you change nothing…

However, individuals alone, choosing to use paper straws every day for example, should not be relied upon to bring about the necessary change to stop climate change… in the same way as solely relying on the government to make systemic and regulatory changes will not prevent climate change…

By focusing our attention on these two extremes of individual action versus governmental systemic changes we are ignoring the huge expanse of middle ground where real change and impact can be made.

Studies have shown that the extent to which people make environmentally friendly choices is affected by their assessment of what everyone else is doing around them. This middle ground is key, and we can all become part of it.

Real change isn’t just committing to using paper straws, it is choosing to really think about the impact of everything we do and consume every day, it is about the conscious and unconscious choices we make and it is about where and how we spend our money.

There is power in numbers and we often forget that as consumers we have huge power. We can all make a difference in this middle ground!

So there you have it, a brief response to the ‘What’s the point?” question… Hopefully it has helped you can see the very important point to us all taking action to be greener in all areas of our lives.

For more green tips and inspiration take a look at our other blog posts, or pop over to Instagram and LinkedIn and check out @achievinggreenness where we provide you with the motivation, evidence, and tools you may need to become greener.

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