I honestly am not sure.
I'm not a big fan of proselytizing, in general. I dislike smug environmentalists, and I try not to be a Judgey McJudgerson. I am all too aware of my own failings as both an environmentalist and a human being. (To wit, at this moment, I am sitting with my back against the radiator, not because I need the heat per se, but because it's loosening the knots in my back.)
This is why I like to participate in other people's challenges, but I've only ever issued one small challenge. I'm just not comfortable with that stuff. My general philosophy is kind of: I do what I'm doing for me, and if others follow, they follow. If they don't, they don't.
On the other hand, I do have a blog. So obviously I'm not just quietly sitting in my room eating my sad organic apple and spinach salad. I guess the thing is, I really don't know.
I write this all because of a conversation Melinda and I had recently. She was voicing her frustration at all the people who didn't participate in Earth Hour, and talked about how she sometimes feels isolated by trying to live an environmentally conscious life when so many people around her don't seem to care about the environment at all.
I argued that just because people might not be concerned about reducing their individual footprint, that doesn't mean they don't care about the environment. It might mean that they don't think individual actions don't matter, and that ultimately we have to allow and accept a multiplicity of views on the matter.
Melinda contended that of the people who are not concerned about reducing their footprint, those who actually care about the environment, but simply don't think individual actions matter are probably a small minority. That we don't have time to waste, and while we should respect people's varied opinions, we shouldn't ACCEPT them. We need to work to change their minds.
Who's right in this little debate?
I don't know.
I actually think the percent of people who don't think individual actions matter is much larger, but who knows. Polls on climate change are notoriously topsy turvy, and you'll see one poll arguing that Americans really care about climate change! Followed by another poll stating that Americans doubt global warming is happening!!
And Melinda's right about us running out of time. Maybe we don't have time to deal with dissenters.
Except ... that feels ... wrong somehow.
I don't know. Maybe I'm trying so hard to be non-judgmental that I've gone too far to the other side. Maybe social stigmatization is an important component in changing society. Maybe there is a place for proselytizing. Certainly, I believe that governments should be paying more attention to climate change. If I think that it's okay to lobby governments, why isn't it okay to lobby people?
I just can't decide. What do you think?
3 weeks ago