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Another triumph for environmentalism! Yeah, sure. Greta Thunberg took the stage at the Glastonbury Festival, one of the world’s largest musical gatherings. To the convinced applause of nearly 100,000 attendees, the activist proclaimed her message. She stated that “we are approaching the precipice…and we can’t let them drag us one inch closer to the edge.” She spoke about living in the most decisive moment in human history and received a round of applause. Everyone in the audience was inspired by his words.
Hours later, that same audience returned home and left the festival space a veritable pigsty, as happens every year. The same attendees who cheered Greta’s message of radical change are incapable of even living the small change that implies stopping throwing garbage on the grass and putting it in the trash can.
They pretend to save the world, change the system and live sustainably, but without the slightest real effort. That is the mark of fallacious environmentalism.
It’s not just the glasses of soda or beer; it’s the festival itself, it’s the mode of consumption, with all the corresponding carbon footprint. If the woke environmentalists really believe that, as Greta says, “We are approaching the precipice… Do you not let them drag us another inch closer to the edge,” then they shouldn’t have paid and traveled by the tens of thousands to a festival that brings together artists from all over the world and involves a gigantic environmental cost in terms of fuel, transatlantic travel, sound equipment and logistics in general.
So are you saying that to really be environmentalists we have to sacrifice our way of life and consumption?
Yes, precisely that. Because the political environmentalism promoted by activists like Thunberg or politicians like Ocasio-Cortez involves subjecting all of humanity to monumental sacrifices that would directly and irreversibly impact the quality of life of billions of people, in exchange for (supposedly) saving the planet.
And, they say, government intervention is necessary because the situation is serious and action is urgent. Greta herself says that we can’t “let them drag us another inch closer to the edge.” Well, start living the “carbon neutral” life you are trying to impose on the rest of the world. Otherwise, effectively, you are mere hypocrites.
Yes, outwardly you despise capitalism and consumerism, but in practice, you are as capitalist and consumerist as the next guy. They consume airplane trips, music festivals, and electric cars, they also have and combine with the luxury clothes they buy online. They further consume environmentalism, turned into an ideological product.
Yes, a product. Packaged and marketed by professionals. A product consisting of political flags, accompanied by a kit of opinions and advertising slogans that are sold and bought to boast to others a moral superiority as polluting and disposable as those plastics they claim to hate so much.
So you want us to be environmentalists and live like hermits, without Glastonbury?
Well, that wouldn’t be bad. After all, the ecological impact of a hermit is infinitely less than that of any activist with an apartment, electric vehicle, Starbucks loyalty card, and vegan diet based on Uber Eats. But, honestly, I don’t recommend them. As hermits, they wouldn’t even last 12 hours once the iPad battery dies.
What to do then? Go for the truly sustainable route: Consume what we need, reduce waste, reuse, and share as much as reasonable, bet on innovation and technological development to find less polluting ways to maintain our lifestyle, remove that vain feeling of guilt, and, begin by throwing garbage in its place.
It’s like Jordan Peterson says: before you go out and change the world, clean your room first. Think about it, the Glastonbury attendees were convinced, excited, and inspired to clean up the world, but they couldn’t even clean up their little piece of land before getting on the plane or in the car to go home.
This is not an isolated event. The same goes for many “green” initiatives that propose drastic changes, with monumental sacrifices, in cities or even countries that have not even managed to fully solve garbage management and sewage treatment.
No, gentlemen. The route to save the Earth does not go through the prophets of the apocalypse, nor through collectivist routes, whose failure history has been recorded time and time again. The right path is that of innovation, of starting with the basics and getting it right; in short, it is that of good sense, because beyond climate change. What is certain is that by wasting less and cleaning up better, we will live in a healthier and happier environment.
This is enough to encourage us to consume better. The “edge” and the apocalypse are unnecessary.
Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”