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It’s Not About Your Straws or Your Light Bulbs

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/11/its-not-about-your-straws-or-your-light-bulbs


I don’t understand this “we don’t have to change our profligate gasoline, electricity and plastic crap consumption, we only need to go after industry”. What exactly does than mean? Industry produces the things and fuels that produce GHG emissions, so if we go after GHG emissions, it will mean deep cuts in our usage of useless things like plastic soda straws, and incandescent bulbs and a whole, whole lot more. So what is the point? Is Sen. Warren and Sanders suggesting that no changes, and yes, sacrifices in the way USAns live will be required to address GHG emissions? They are being very dishonest if they are.

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Speaking of which, I reread the article and, as I suspected, found no mention of Sanders, only of Warren. Why did you lump him in with her?

The analogy the author should have used is cupcakes and bakers. She wants government to fine bakers for making cupcakes rather than quit eating them on her own.

There is a logic to this in that preventing bakers making cupcakes prevents everybody from eating them but the insistence in the liberal media that we all should keep eating cupcakes until the government forces bakers to quit making them is puzzling. For one thing it deprives people of agency. For another, it sends a message to politicians and bakers that you want to keep eating cupcakes.

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Their positions are similar on almost all issues.

Actually, she didn’t say what you claimed, but her cupcake analogy made no sense anyway. I agree that consumer desires drive fossil fuel consumption - but industry manufactures that fossil fuel consuming consumer desire through their seamless advertising, PR, and product-placement psychological tactics. Why on TV are there never any advertisements for EV’s or hybrid cars (or any other kind of car except pickups and SUV’s), LED lamps, solar installation services, high efficiency appliances and the like?

So, besides a strong carbon-tax-and-rebate program (the rebates being tied to income, not fuel usage) we need some kind of “advertising fairness doctrine”, where it is mandated that the Chevy Bolt gets the same high-profile glitzy advertising as those awful pickup trucks get.

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Being concerned about the climate crisis, I often wonder what could be done to address it. And here it is . . . simple.

Once I get the sticky bits off my fingers from this cupcake I’ve been devouring, I’ll be sure to fire off a little note to my U.S. Rep and two Senators, asking that they curb the corrupt influence of polluting industries that are profiting off of carbon emissions while harming the future of our planet.

I’ll be sure to give credit where it’s due, to the author of this piece.

Gosh, I just didn’t realize it was such a simple solution.


Good one. Sometimes, nothing beats sarcasm is criticizing a bad argument.

90 or so companies produce 75% of all CO2 emissions.
Oil,Coal,Gas ,chemicals ,Tree paper ,Animal agriculture.
What good is profit if we are all being irrevocably damaged .

Bring back Nichola Tesla’s ideas .

“We should be looking for win-win solutions to the climate crisis: solutions that create jobs and preserve quality of life and individual freedoms while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.”

That would be a Green New Deal in a nutshell.

I realize that a large fraction of CD readership consists of nihilists and nay-sayers, but while she omits a critical part of her argument in favor of a simple but not quite parallel example, Ms. Richardson is correct in placing the blame for the climate crisis squarely on the corporations. Yunzer is also correct in explaining that contrary to the claims of industry and mainstream economics, the driver of markets is not the consumer, who merely chooses from among 137 nearly identical goods on the basis of what corporations have chosen to sell and the propaganda through which they create demand–for almost everything.

No matter how much you want it (say a pair of shoes that costs less than $200 and doesn’t disintegrate after a year or 20 wearings), if they don’t choose to produce it but instead produce only shoes that cost $200 and still disintegrate after a year or 20 wearings, you ain’t gettin’ it.

Likewise, if corporations such as Duke Energy (my favorite) choose to purchase enough state legislators to avoid meaningful regulation (which they do), they will produce 3-5% of their energy from sustainable sources and burn carbon for the rest. There is only one set of wires coming to my house, so I get carbon-based electricity or spend $20-30,000 to cover my roof with PV, which The Mighty Duck goes to great lengths to make difficult or impossible and still have to reduce my consumption a bit.

Likewise with buildings and transportation. Until “we” collectively find a way to force “them” to do it, the massive top-down mobilization that is absolutely necessary for a habitable plant will not occur.

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Is that what you call people who suggest that people can have no impact on their own before politicians force everybody to act? It seems to me that individuals making necessary changes can create a more favorable environment for politicians to act in – in addition to reducing consumption.

The consumer doesn’t have to buy any of the 137 nearly goods in most cases. My TV tries to sell me a car at least a dozen times a night as I watch the news or the baseball game. I’ve never once been tempted to buy one.

As long as people are so easily swayed by advertising we’ll have a much more difficult time.

You’re right about utilities, though, although we can reduce our use.

We have to learn to resist advertising, somehow.

I’ve never seen an add for walking and I don’t think I’ve seen any for bicycles, either.

I favor a substantial carbon tax. Not sure about the rebate, though.


[quote=“tommy_slothrop, post:11, topic:67760”], quoting Ecconomagic

a large fraction of CD readership consists of nihilists and nay-sayers

Is that what you call people who suggest that people can have no impact on their own before politicians force everybody to act? It seems to me that individuals making necessary changes can create a more favorable environment for politicians to act in – in addition to reducing consumption.

No, only those that express nihilistic views or otherwise declare that nothing can be done–pretty much your point, eh, that individuals can and must act?

Me neither. I’ve been a po’ boy most of my life so pretty much a minimalist. I spent my first four years (1946-1950) on the campus of Oklahoma A&M College in 16-foot square uninsulated hutments made from surplus plywood made for PT boats. I owned a very small TV twice, one of which only had 10 minutes of video before it rolled, both for only a few months. I have never owned a smart phone and I never will. My newest vehicle when I got it was 15 years old.

But that is what drives the economy. I have seen handbooks for people in the Marketing industry with titles on the order of “How to Get People to Buy Things They Neither Need nor Want.” They know exactly what they are doing. I have also seen statements from people in that industry that proudly claim that they create demand where none exists. It is a business analog to the “push poll” in politics–bogus.

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I think I saw an ad for a bicycle once, a long time ago. I know people who refuse to ride a bike that costs less than $1,000, and they don’t go any farther and not much faster than my $150 Diamondback from a pawn shop. A carbon tax is (as the mathematicians say) necessary but not sufficient. Economists and phony conservatives detest using taxes to change people’s behavior, mostly because such changes mean somebody is not selling as much crap.

Which gets to the lead in for the story. Who’s to blame?
Everyone, some more than others. Where there appears to be no official watchdog, the people have be their own police.

The products and services those 90 companies produce and sell to people produce 75% of all CO2 emisisons produce - transportation and electricity primarily. You are making it sound like there are these big factories that belch out CO2 for no reason at all.


Best interview ever with heroic Swedish climate activist…


Wow! I just read her little book, “No one is too small. . . .” Thanks for the link.

I can’t help myself

What I am saying is does it benefit us using fossil fuels for practically everything .
What about the benefits of Hemp .Why not mass produce sensibly priced electric cars for short journeys. Why not have Solar energy everywhere you can.
It’s not difficult …
Corporations are a human construction they don’t breathe fresh air or need pure water to sustain them .
Mother Nature supports life .Corporations irrevocably damage our life support systems and us …We The People …

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