The conference ended with a controversial deal, an unfunded U.S. commitment to provide monies for developing countries that engage in green developments. The accord offered some progress. Yet critics have good cause to be angered. Nothing that the world’s biggest carbon producing offenders — the United States and China — agreed to offers substantive change in their own actions.
Though the pact may finally yield a U.S. legislative action, the irony of the situation cannot be ignored. Here we are telling other countries to change their policies — incentivized by unbudgeted and at this point non-existant U.S. dollars — when we can’t change our own behavior or laws.
Once again, Copenhagen demonstrated politicians cannot be considered the serious answer to the worldùs environmental problem. They will only follow the general public’s will. In that sense, Copenhagen offered the ideal result mirroring our public attitude: An agreement that acknowledges there’s a serious problem, but doesn’t actually do much.
If you’re angry about Copenhagen, then it’s time to turn your suffering into something substantive: Personal change and action. Only through our own actions and increased conversations can we affect global environmental progress. Each action can cause another person to change their own behavior, and eventually general public opinion and societal norms. It’s been done before. Consider how much of a faux paux public littering has become.
There are so many great places to start. There’s an environmental organization for almost every political temperment. Or if you’d like, join me and my friends at Live Earth for the Dow Run for Water. Whatever you do, don’t settle for Copenhagen angst. Do something positive for the environment today, and let change begin with us.