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Industrial infrastructure is incompatible with a living planet. For as long as any harm is caused, by anyone, there can be no sustainability. Only one-quarter of all consumption is by individuals.
This is a fundamental shift in values, to go from compassion for all living beings and the land, to a selfish wish to feel good about our inherently destructive way of life.
You want to question my lifestyle, my impact, my ecological footprint? If the lifestyle actions advocated really do have the effect of keeping our culture around for longer than it would otherwise, then it will cause more harm to the natural world than if no such action had been taken.
There is a monster standing over us, with a footprint so large it can trample a whole planet underfoot, without noticing or caring. For the longer a destructive culture is sustained, the more destruction it causes.
Sustainability advocates tell us that reducing our impact, causing less harm to the Earth, is a good thing to do, and we should feel good about our actions. Even if every one of us made every effort to reduce our ecological footprint, it would make little difference to overall consumption.
If life on Earth is to survive, the global political and economic structures need to be dismantled. The rest is taken up by industry, agribusiness, the military, governments and corporations.
They build the structures in a way that people can never change anything from within them.
Voting, petitions, and rallies all reinforce the power structures, and can never bring about significant change on their own.
These tactics give corporations and governments a choice.
The title of this article isn’t just attention-grabbing and controversial, it is quite literally what’s going on.
When we frame the sustainability debate around the premise that individual lifestyle choices are the solution, then the enemy becomes other individuals who make different lifestyle choices, and those who don’t have the privilege of choice. Make people believe that they have power when they don’t. Control the language that is used to debate the issues.
Meanwhile the true enemy — the oppressive structures of civilization — are free to continue their destructive and murderous practices without question. By creating and reinforcing the belief that voting for minor changes and buying more stuff will solve all problems, those in power have a highly effective strategy for maintaining economic growth and corporate-controlled democracy.
This is hardly an effective way to create a meaningful social movement. Sustainability is popular with corporations, media and government because it fits perfectly with their aims. Those in power keep people believing that the only way we can change anything is within the structures they’ve created.