The sustainability of our societal norms such as cars, planes, and plastic, have been called into question for quite some time, and now more than ever the controversy of how to address this is becoming increasingly prevalent. However, our man-made destructive mechanisms are no match for the root of the climate change problems and the reason why it is proving so difficult to remedy it comes down to one fact: money. Why don’t we use composted materials, green energy, recycled straws, or electric cars instead if we know exactly why not utilizing them is proving catastrophic for our climate and will continue to do so?
There are many prominent green companies but they pale in comparison to the influence of massive corporations. No matter how many metal straws you drink from or the number of reusable grocery bags you lug around, plastic and coal production isn’t slowing down any time soon. Industries and even countries that rely on factory made goods and fossil fuels shy away from the glaringly obvious truth: they are the problem. What difference would it make to a family ordering fast food if they got sustainable straws and takeout boxes instead of plastic, styrofoam, and cardboard? It wouldn’t, but to the corporations that mass produce and post produce using demand predictions, it makes all the difference.
For some it’s hard to realize why species extinction, rising water levels, dying polar bears, acid rain, smog, climate disasters, disease, and death isn’t reason enough to sponsor a change. On the other hand, turning over billion dollar industries sustaining millions of people worldwide overnight is naive. The solution to the problem has to be sustainable as well. It isn’t the corporations or the masses of people making a living because of them that should change; instead, what these corporations and people should change their production habits. Climate change is the fight our generation has inherited from centuries destructive paths. Remedying climate change is not about living green and expecting the world to change, but rather a gradual universal effort everyone must make consciously until it becomes the new societal norm. The lucrative green industry has yet to be taken full advantage of by leading corporations or the people and it is up to one of them to lead the way towards a sustainable economy.
This leaves us with the question: how? All industries survive or fall according to supply and demand. While these businesses control and regulate the supply, the people are the demand. Businesses depend on the people wanting what they manufacture, and in that relationship, the people hold a significant amount of power. If demand is turned towards green energy and goods, corporations will follow those trends and meet the demand. Alleviating climate change is not a war in which there is a clear winner, a loser, or opposing sides to be taken; it will take a worldwide effort to make a dent of progress in the right direction.
Graphic: Sofia Lee, Sara Wong & Kaylin Marshall