Sunday, March 15, 2020

Futility of personal action

Imagine that that there were a little fence around the entire world, made of plastic drinking straws standing side-by-side. That is, it would extend across the roughly 25k mile circumference, including the oceans.

Now suppose that you were convinced that this is stupid, ugly, and detrimental to the environment, and that you should do your part in dismantling it.

It turns out that the number of straws in such a fence is about the same as the number of people in the world. So doing your part would be to remove one straw from the fence.

Would you bother to remove your straw? No, it would be obvious that such a gesture is silly and pointless. You would have such a trivial effect on the fence that no one would even notice.

This is analogous to anyone trying to be environmentally conscious by avoiding straws, recycling newspapers, or driving an electric. It is just lunacy to think that you are doing some sort of good for the planet. At best, you are like the guy who removes one straw from the straw fence.

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