Written by Mary Annaïse Heglar and first published at Vox
It tells us climate change could have been fixed if we had all just ordered less takeout, used fewer plastic bags, turned off some more lights, planted a few trees, or driven an electric car. It says that if those adjustments can’t do the trick, what’s the point?
When you consider that the same IPCC report outlined that the vast majority of global greenhouse gas emissions come from just a handful of corporations — aided and abetted by the world’s most powerful governments, including the US — it’s victim blaming, plain and simple.
I hear this message everywhere: the left- and right-wing media and within the environmental movement. It’s even been used by the courts and the fossil fuel industry itself as a defense against litigation. In fact, industries have redirected the environmentalist narrative to blame consumers since the ever-so-problematic “Crying Indian” ad campaign of the 1970s. I hear it from my friends and family, strangers on the street, random people in yoga class.