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For the Sake of a Green New Deal, Start Thinking About Your Individual Actions

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A 2013 poll found that “family and friends have the greatest ability to convince [individuals] to take action to reduce global warming.”

First off, you, as an individual, are not remotely responsible for climate change. Every person in the United States could go vegan or flexitarian, start biking to work, and set up communal compost bins, and we would still be—scientifically speaking—screwed. Corporations would continue to spew greenhouse gases, led by multinationals like ExxonMobil and BP. People would go on buying carbon-intensive things and flying in planes as they always have. Without massive policy and technological shifts, the world would go on burning—perhaps slightly less quickly than before—and the meme-slash-truism about how there’s no ethical (or climate-neutral) consumption under capitalism would still be true.

Yet we must imagine a hypothetical country made sustainable by the Green New Deal. And within that reality, our current plastic-tossing, oil-dependent, meat-devouring lifestyles will be unimaginable. It’s time to start shifting toward more sustainable lifestyles—now.

The very foundations of the way we live will change under a Green New Deal—a splendid realization, in the right context. Free of poverty and of the energy sources that are choking and killing us, the future for the climate, and for individuals, could begin to look bright and stable. The upshot is that the Green New Deal will ultimately make us happier, even if we have to change our lifestyles. As Kate Aronoff observes at The Intercept, the policies laid out in the GND will likely lead to people working less and socializing more: “It’s about building a society that makes a low-carbon and altogether happier life possible for everyone”—so it’s not about making an overall sacrifice, she argues. (Of course, we’ll have to give some things up, which is hard to accept even when other parts of our lives will become much better.)

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Thanks !

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