The U.S. is such a sprawling, huge country, with so many cultures. Change in a country like this is hard to implement. And many of us feel that large scale change is necessary, for people of all income levels, towards local and national economies that foster more responsible use of resources, a healthier humanity and planet.
The NY Times Room for Debate recently generated a discussion among writers and readers called “Responsible Shoppers, but Bad Citizens?” about eco-shopping and civic engagement. The point was that being a good shopper and recycler alone (e.g. as wealthier Americans sometimes choose to be) will not bring the change that is needed, even if it can reduce toxins and waste, even if it can influence policy making in business, and government. We eco-shoppers are still a small number. And residential waste makes up a small portion, compared to industrial and construction wastes. But then it eventually all supports us, and we still use more than almost anyone else.
A recent survey indicates that with regards to our guilt about our impact on the planet: “Americans, Canadians, Japanese and French feel the least, while Indians, Chinese, Mexicans and Brazilians feel the most. A very similar distribution was apparent for the question of whether citizens of different countries felt more or less “empowered” to change the situation.”
Annie Leonard’s new short filmThe Story of Change” urges viewers to put down their credit cards and start exercising their citizen muscles to build a more sustainable, just and fulfilling world.”