The overlooked side of the ecological crisis

Action groups protest against the government or business for many reasons. The government is challenged on its responsibility to protect citizens and regulate social and economic life. Businesses are reminded of their duty not to pollute the environment or endanger health.
Farmers take action at supermarket distribution centres to force a higher price for their products. With the government, they protest against strict regulations that endanger their operations and even their survival.
Citizens protest at polluting industries for a cleaner living environment, which gives less chance of nasty diseases. And at the government for stricter climate regulations.
Hardly anyone comes up with the idea of campaigning on citizens’ doorsteps. No tractor stands in the front yard, protesting against consumers’ refusal to pay even a penny extra for their food. An occasional action group, like Grandparents for Climate, protests at Schiphol Airport against unlimited consumer flying and the great climate damage it causes. But that is at a distance, peaceful and respectful. Not coercive, not personal and not confrontational. Because consumers don’t pick up on that. The days when people were addressed on their behaviour, on the street, in the bus or train, are long gone. Personal freedom is sacred and virtually untouchable.
Apart from an occasional article in a newspaper or magazine, little has been written and talked about the consumer as the cause of the ecological crisis in the past half century. He has been structurally overlooked, by government, business and civil society organisations. Fossil companies that are the cause of the CO2 emissions that are warming our climate and heavy industry that pollutes the air and threatens the health of local residents are greedily pointed out. But the end user is kept out of the wind: the consumer as the buyer of the products.
If the demand for a product such as petrol, steel or pfas-coated jackets falls away, the manufacturer or producer is also quickly done for. Consumers account for the vast majority of fossil fuels, emissions and raw material consumption. So therein lies the solution to the ecological problems that threaten the viability of large parts of our planet.







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