Climate Change

Climate Change and Self Interest

Climate Change and Self Interest

 I'm reading Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything" currently.  I'm enjoying it quite a bit, although it's quite depressing since it main theme is we, as a species, are creating an existential crisis in climate change because we have no interest in dismantling the unregulated capitalism that caused it. 

As the planet heats up the consequences are likely to be disastrous for the nearly 7 billion people living on earth. (If you want to read a particularly apocalyptic article, I suggest this long NY Magazine article from July.) So why isn't anyone doing more about it all? Why is the United States reversing the Paris Agreement?  

The answer lies in an economic principle: self-interest. This was first discussed by the father of economics, Adam Smith, 

"Self-interest refers to actions that elicit the most personal benefit. Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, explains that the best economic benefit for all can usually be accomplished when individuals act in their own self-interest. His explanation of the invisible hand reveals that when dozens or even thousands act in their own self-interest, goods and services are created that benefit consumers and producers."

Why Not Eating Beef Can Help Save the World

Why Not Eating Beef Can Help Save the World

I recently became a vegetarian. I say this not to brag because it's not a big deal. But I think it's worthwhile to discuss why I made the shift. The decision was very much connected to climate change. 

Why Isn't Everyone Terrified of Climate Change?

Despite the many dire warnings that climate change is here and is going to have disastrous consequences for this planet,  I found a lack of urgency about it among political leaders but also among most everyday people. Some of it is because people are in denial that climate change is even real. Some of it is because the true causes of climate change are so ingrained in our culture, that reversing it would require wholesale changes in the way we live. 

But I think biggest reason of all is that most of us feel a lack of powerlessness around our politics. To put it simply: What are we supposed to do? We are a socially powerless and disengaged people who live to consume. This powerlessness is one of the byproducts of modernism and a neoliberal economy. All of us disconnected in some respect and check out because we have no idea how to act or meaningfully help the world.