Why we cannot wait for the politicians to solve the environmental crisis

With the Paris Climate agreement, a small light appeared after 25 years in political darkness with continually procrastination on the issues of climate change. Many people blindly trust the politicians to solve countless issues related to our extreme consumption habits while we continue to insist on the right to eat red meat and being able to travel the world. With President Trump pulling USA out of the Paris Climate agreement, can we continue to trust our political leaders to save the planet that we all depend on?

Lack of political willpower
We have witnessed it many times before. The fundamental lack of political responsiveness and action is evident when environmental challenges come on the agenda. The political scene seems to be dominated by growth and progress where “Work more, and the more you can consume” seems to be the bearing mantra – a complete outdated mindset in 2017.

With the ban of single use plastic bags in France, the world saw a political willpower to make a change on the environmental crisis. Unfortunately, those examples are still far between. What we really need are politicians who dare to put their neck on line and ban what really makes a difference – the pumping of fossil fuels.

Since global politicians and leaders have not exactly shown a great track record so far, it is crucial to move away from the idea that there is only one solution on the global scale. In fact, there are many levels in between with a change in our lifestyle being just one of them. We have a joint responsibility, and if we just sit here and twiddle our thumbs and wait for the politicians to take action, it will be painfully slow. It is time we simply do not have.

But the question still remain, are people willing to change their lives accordingly to accommodate a more simple and modest lifestyle?

Human capacity
Humans possess this special capacity to picture how their future is harmed if they don’t change their lifestyles. Research shows that under the right circumstances people are willing to accept additional costs and efforts as long as the trust is present of others doing the same. It is crucial that we know others will act as well. It is all of us against our selves, if we don’t act.

A change in lifestyle is fundamental for dealing with a variety of issues related to climate change, waste problems and ocean pollution. But will we get poorer from redistribution of our lifestyle? We might, but a break up with this manic consumption behaviour will also mean, that we will get more time to concentrate on things that really matter to the individual.

The task for all of us is to make the goals of the Paris Climate agreement our very own. To incorporate sustainable everyday actions combined with political will is needed, if we want to set the planet on a new course.