Little actions; big results

Allison Rafert, Opinion Editor

“I didn’t do it!” Sure, it may be a childish statement, but we all use it: the ease of attributing blame to other individuals rather than taking responsibility for our own misfortunes is addicting.
And in the case of climate change, it’s entirely convenient to assign the blame to large corporations who still burn fossil fuels. While it is true that these corporations have contributed largely to the current condition of the environment, and they should certainly be held accountable for their detrimental impacts, it is unreasonable to argue that people’s everyday actions have had no effect.
By no means should the rest of the population be exempt from doing its part to combat climate change—every little thing a person does adds up, resulting in a substantial difference.
This can include investing in reusable water bottles or sandwich bags, reducing the time spent idling in a car by skipping the drive-thru, thrift shopping, using public transportation, or simply remembering to turn off the lights when leaving a room. In fact, some cities—like Seattle, with its ban on plastic utensils and straws; or Issaquah, with its ban on plastic shopping bags—are currently taking steps to reduce plastic waste.
These banned items may seem so miniscule that their absence won’t make a substantial difference; but according to a study by Freedonia Group, an international business research company, the United States used 390 million straws per day in 2017. Limiting the amount of any plastic disposable items would result in a clear change, and its impact will only be greater as more people and cities participate.
Of course, these little things are not going to save the earth individually, but they are almost more impactful and important in another aspect: increasing awareness in the general population. When people are actively making changes in their everyday lives to solve a problem, they become more passionate about the issue and conscious of their actions. This awareness can simply not be achieved by forcing corporations to pay for all the damage.
With a combination of household changes and a revolution of the fossil fuel industry, discernible change will result—and it doesn’t have to involve blaming others. If there is any hope in stopping the advancement of climate change, it will occur through the involvement of all parties, making little changes to advance toward a greater solution.