Friday, January 15, 2010

Tell Me Whyyyyyyyyy (from Erica)

Today's question is going to be brief, mostly because I have to dash out the door in a moment to get to work. This isn't strictly feminism, although it's certainly related because of the way power dynamics play out on a global scale and when you take into account who can afford to protect themselves (and who cannot).

Simply put, today's questions concern environmental feminism, if I may call it that. The political brou-ha-ha surrounding climate change aside, there's a significant amount of resistance to environmentally-friendly and socially conscious practices that we could be implementing to reduce the amount of crap we're dumping into our planet's ecosystems and our neighbours' backyards. While some of these practices come with high up-front costs that can be a deterrent to businesses and corporations in this economy, there are many others that do not.

So why are we so resistant to taking care of the planet? What is it about dumping waste in landfills and putting most of the health burden on people who can't afford to clean it up or acquire decent medical care? What are some of the reasons people are so damn greedy?

And, since I don't want this post to be entirely negative...what are some ways we can change that? How can we make environmentally responsible choices appealing to a broader group?

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, my comment doesn't really answer either of your questions, but I do feel it is relevant. Really, it just raises more questions.

    As you stated, some changes involve high up-front costs. One thing that frustrates me about the current emphasis on environmentalism is the fact that there are so many who simply can't afford to be "green." Take 'cash for clunkers.' The people who benefited from that program were people who could afford to buy new cars anyway. The people who are actually driving around the real clunkers are those who could not afford a new car even with a couple thousand dollars in their pocket.

    I once heard some "expert" on the radio talking about how in the future, families will have multiple cars for different purposes: a battery-powered one for around town, a hybrid for commuting, and a gas-powered one for long road-trips; this would allow families to use gas only when absolutely necessary. The problem is, impoverished Americans *cannot afford* even one car with not horrible gas mileage. And while it would be nice if corporations just absorbed the costs of "going green" and accepted reduced profits for a few years, we all know that's not how capitalism works--not here, anyway.

    It also bothers me that some of these environmental issues apparently are prioritized over other issues that more immediately affect people. Why did 'cash for clunkers' pass when health care legislation gets stuck? Why do people talk about 'taking care of the planet' when we can't/won't take care of the poor and those who recently lost their homes?

    I know I'm talking more about individuals than I am about corporations--I don't know much about how big business works. But I do think that there are a lot of people so enamored with the free market that they don't see that it doesn't exactly solve all the problems it's supposed to. And I think that is why corporations haven't been forced to suck it up and reduce profits in the short-term in order to help the disadvantaged.