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I find that I am having a deeply personal (and negative) reaction to this @drvox thread. Why? Because I have made living a great life with a defensible carbon footprint a part of my identity, and one of the most prominent public voices on climate is essentially saying 1/
“Ha, you fool, don’t you know that your symbolic acts of sacrifice won’t make any difference in the world?” Would @drvox say to a vegan that their symbolic self deprivation has not saved one cow from slaughter? Making a personal lifestyle commitment to a cause is not just abt 2/
drawing a direct line to a tangible result - it is about the inner peace that comes from living consistently with deeply held beliefs about the gravity of climate change. And I know that my own emissions reductions actually have reduced total global emissions, something that 3/
fossil fuel divestment and pipeline protestors can’t actually claim. Yes, it is an infinitesimally small reduction in an infinitely huge problem - but a small fraction of an infinite problem is still significant by itself. And to me, the distinction between enriching ur life 4/
by enjoying the products of the fossil fuel industry is not distinctly different morally from enriching your life by sharing in the profits of the fossil fuel industry. It’s just a matter of degree. And I haven’t foresworn meat or flying entirely, or expect others to - I just 5/
believe in being very conscious of the climate impact of my own life choices. I aim for a 4/T direct footprint and have no trouble meeting that while enjoying a rich life - even flying once every year or so. @drvox protests that he is not a hypocrite to fly without hesitation 6/
while arguing for policies that would make flying more expensive and less frequent. But @drvox suggests that limiting flying and meat consumption is “sackcloth and ashes” approach, as if a life without frequent flying is a life of abnegation and poverty. That is a pretty 7/
privileged position to take, given that that vast majority of the world’s population does not fly. And how hard will climate hawks push for effective climate action as long as they believe that the society wide lifestyle adjustments needed are the equivalent of poverty? @drvox 8/
can start living the cleaner, healthier, more community oriented low carbon lifestyle anytime he wants - it’s there for the asking. And he, of all people, would make a big difference in the climate debate if he did, since his role as a thought leader on climate will influence 9/
our consumerist culture more than I can with my much smaller platform. Roberts gives permission to the climate community to continue acts of conspicuous climate consumption - and that will not lead to inner peace, or political success. We would do well as a 10/
movement to demonstrate that we have each internalized the gravity and immediacy of climate disaster. Otherwise we run the risk of achieving symbolic victories but practical failure. /f
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