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Has Our Changing Climate Crossed the Line?


Response: The Problem with Consumerism from Our Changing Climate 

Our Changing Climate is an EarthPlex-recommended source to learn about climate change. The channel has a variety of videos relating to the earth and pollution. I tend to agree with what the videos' narrator says, but when I watched the Our Changing Climate video called The Problem with Consumerism, I felt rather surprised.

The video began by saying that South Korea invested billions of dollars into clean energy and creating green jobs in 2009, a time when the economy was slumping. The plan worked in the sense that the economy recovered, but emissions continued to rise despite South Korea's efforts.

The narrator explained that this is because of consumerism. People in developed nations buy more stuff than ever which causes emissions to skyrocket. Holidays like Black Friday didn't used to exist, but now consumerism is a staple of western culture. Cutting down emissions will be incredibly challenging with the rate at which our economy grows. So, what are we to do about this? 

Our Changing Climate suggested degrowth in terms of consumption. The video mentioned a study that states that by 2050,  the Earth could support three times our population if consumption levels dropped 60%, or to 1960 levels. People would have to eat less red meat and consume less in general. 

How would this be accomplished? The video says that it would not be the individual's responsibility, but rather that of governments and corporations. Energy companies would have to stop drilling fossil fuels, and instead, transition to using clean energy. This would remove the blame from the people - polluting companies have tried to put the responsibility of lowering emissions on the consumer through ad campaigns - and shift it back to the corporations that pollute the most.

Is this method too extreme? When the video mentioned that this would be like the 1960s, I became concerned that this would actually move society backward. However, Our Changing Climate said that we would still have thermostats, laptops, etc. So, we would only go back in time in terms of how much we have. Considering that studies show time and time again that material goods don't equate to more happiness, this might not be so bad.

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