Why People Aren't Acting
If you know your planet is in imminent danger, you'd have to be extremely uncaring not to want to do everything possible to save it.
To understand why we're not seeing a frantic worldwide rush to changing to a plant based diet, we need to explore the reasons, both legitimate and farcical.
It's very difficult to be alive at the moment and NOT know about climate change, so complete lack of knowledge is not a good excuse. For many however, there are serious gaps or missing pieces in their understanding. Despite the warnings from scientists, there is still a lack of knowledge about precisely why our dietary choices are so damaging.
Despite all of the evidence and the unavoidable physical experiences global warming is creating, there are still a great number who remain in denial that climate change is a real thing at all. It's difficult to persuade anyone who won't face the truth that there is anything they need to do differently in the first place.
Even amongst those who do accept that the world is headed towards irrevocable damage, there are those who would prefer to pretend it isn't happening. Acting to try to deal with the problem is tantamount to an unpalatable acknowledgement that it is happening, so for these people, it's safer to just pretend there's nothing wrong.
Some cling to the belief that they didn't create the problem, so why should they be the ones to do something about it? This is a very convenient way of legitimizing inaction. It removes them from any culpability and allows them to be victims. But it's the equivalent of seeing someone knocked down by a car, and driving by because you weren't the one who hit them.
Most of us would like to believe that corporate Net Zero initiatives are the answer to our planet's problems. From the way they're talked up and touted as solutions, it's not surprising. But as we've already seen, by themselves they can never be enough. And many, as time is revealing, are merely examples of 'Greenwashing' for the sake of ESG compliance.
Some people are already committed to making a difference and do things like reducing energy consumption, recycling, avoiding unnecessary travel and making environmentally sound buying decisions. They see themselves as already doing enough. Sadly these kind of initiatives predominantly impact CO2 emissions. And as we have seen, those gases produced by our dietary choices are the ones that we desperately need to address.
Maybe the largest amount of inaction is caused by feelings of helplessness; individuals who do not believe that their isolated actions can in any way make a difference. Feeling overwhelmed is not an untypical response when the problems are global and seem insurmountable.
All of these reasons are what might be expected. But there's one more reason which is maybe so obvious and silly, that it's totally overlooked...
People are not acting because nobody's asked them to!
Sounds bizarre? Consider the following:
The information we have from scientists about the need for dietary change has come to us in the form of what's called passive education. It's generic, impersonal and doesn't involve us directly. It arrives via news media and it leaves us with a choice of what to do. But for most people, dietary change seems insurmountably difficult and inconvenient. So for the sake of not putting ourselves out, we will ignore it.
What is required is active education. This involves people and directly engages or challenges them to act upon the information that is given to them. Think about the effect upon you when somebody directly and personally asks you for help. How does it make you feel? How do you tend to respond? And what is there's a really compelling reason to help that benefits you too, or your family, or your friends, or pets, or colleagues, or whoever you care about? What if you knew you could make a difference?
Would you be surprised to learn that when actively asked for help, surveys consistently show that 80% of people, even though they may have any one of the reasons above for not acting, say that they would be prepared to make dietary changes if asked?
Of course, it's a little more complex than that, because what you also need is COMMITMENT to the idea that together, we can change the world..
Net Zero initiatives can reduce Global Warming Potential (GWP) gases, but not by enough, and not quickly enough
Scientists warn us that to avert irreparable damage to our planet, we need to change our dietary habits
We all need to do a lot more and the corporate world can take the lead