Politico discusses What Covid Is Exposing About the Climate Movement. The “it’s not you” approach might be good politics, but the Covid epidemic is showing it’s also wrong.
Fifty years ago, 20 million Americans took to the streets for the first Earth Day, voting with their feet against the degradation of the planet. Pogo cartoonist Walt Kelly captured the moment with his legendary anti-pollution poster: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
On Wednesday, environmentalists around the world will take to their keyboards for the 50th Earth Day, forced online by the coronavirus crisis but still dedicated to saving the planet from the slower-motion climate crisis. As the earth has begun to broil, though, the Earth Day movement has reshaped its narrative, arguing that the enemy isn’t really us.
In recent years, green activists have pivoted away from guilt-tripping us about our carbon footprints and embraced a more politically appealing message: Our personal choices don’t really matter, so we should stop worrying so much about what we eat or drive and whether we recycle or compost. The new environmentally correct message is that only large-scale political and institutional change can save the climate, so lecturing ordinary people about using plastic straws and other individual behaviors with relatively paltry climate impacts is a distraction from government policies and corporate abuses with catastrophic impacts.
In other words, if you care about the earth, you should focus on the damage being done to it by real enemies like President Donald Trump and ExxonMobil, not the damage being done to it by you.