Comment 30424

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2009 at 16:07:50

Well said, Frank.

People are notoriously bad at universalizing individual actions.

It won't make a difference if I pick just one flower from the Bruce Trail. It won't make a difference if I drop just one wrapper on the ground. It won't make a difference if I throw just one bottle into the garbage.

What people can't seem to figure out is that "just one" action multiplied millions of times can be devastating. Scale any activity up high enough and it can have world-changing consequences.

Who could have imagined back in the 1920s that if enough people sprayed chlorofluorocarbons into the air, it would destroy the ozone layer in an expanding hole over the Antarctic?

Who would have guessed, at the dawn of the petroleum age, that humans could ever burn enough hydrocarbons to set the global atmosphere on a trajectory toward runaway warming?

Sometimes, "educating" strategies aren't enough. My inclination is to prefer the use of incentives to drive consumer behaviour (e.g. through a tax on plastic bottles and bags to make them less economical), but I'm not going to dismiss the idea of a ban out of hand.

When the stakes are high enough, we need to do whatever is most effective and not prejudice ourselves against a given proposal.

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