From Marcelo Rinesi at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He starts with this.
Consumption, goes the tale, is the great driver of ecological disruption. Hence, green consumers will save the planet (a safe planet being one with sustainable ecological and energy systems). Right? Wrong.
Allow me to set aside the underlying ecological assumptions in the piece to address some CIC aspects I think are interesting. Rinesi proposes that individual actions (buying a hybrid, paper instead of plastic,etc ) may make you feel good but don’t effect meaningful change. That needs to take place on a larger scale.
Here are two of his points I want to draw out.
First, he says individuals need to engage politically rather than focus on their own actions since governments primarily can effect change on a necessary scale. In CIC terms, he is essentially saying that changing individual behaviors is a linear response with linear effect but engaging politically is an exponential response with exponential effect.
Second, and this is the one I really wanted to get to, we need to understand how things work. He puts it this way:
Health, prosperity, and safety are unsustainable without functioning energy and ecological infrastructures, but that fact has limited political impact until politicians have come to the conclusion that, irregardless of other issues, counterproductive or even ineffective actions in those fronts will be career enders. It’s clear that in most countries we are still far away from this situation.
The point I am trying to make is not environmental but practical. We need to be careful that we don’t think our linear actions have exponential results and if we want to influence CI politicians, we need to understand what motivates them.
Here is the whole post.