How To Do Your Part To Fight Climate Change So Major Corporations Don't Have To

The Hard Times:

Science nerds will tell you that climate change is an existential threat to our world, but more importantly, to our corporations. That being the case, we need to make major sacrifices in our everyday lives so big businesses can keep this economy running until the ground eventually swallows us whole. Here are a few climate hacks you can do to relieve corporations of any responsibility.

Put All Your Trash in a Recycling Bin
Turns out garbage is bad for the environment. So recycle it! Food scraps, plastic bags, and pretty much anything laying around the house can be put into a recycling bin. This way we can do our part which will allow major corporations to continue throwing their trash directly into the ocean. [...]

Use LED Lighting
These lights use 75% less energy than ones you get at Target. We all need to make the switch before Earth is literally on fire. When that happens, you don't want to be the one with egg on your face who had regular light bulbs in your home. That would be embarrassing. Please consider doing Chevron this one favor.

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25 Responses:

  1. tfb says:

    They are better than they were (and very expensive ones are pretty good ... but very expensive) but the spectrum from LED lights is still often just horrible. It turns out that eyes did in fact evolve to work best with the thermal spectra which is essentially all they've ever seen and replicating that without doing the whole being-very-hot thing is hard. Who would have guessed?

    (Someone is now going to emit noise about how eyes only detect three colours and so a device which just emits three frequencies sufficient to fool the eye is enough... shut up: I'm a physicist and I know that, and I also understand why that's not nearly sufficient for a device whose purpose is to illuminate things.)

    I still do use LED lights though. Actually I'm not quite sure of the point of this article: yes, supporting megacorps and their encrustation of plutocrats is bad and it's witty to write about that, but not using a car is, in fact, good, and using LED lighting likewise.

    • jwz says:


      I mean, the point of the article is pretty clear: the whole idea that individual action can make a damned bit of difference in the face of industrial consumption is just corporate propaganda to deflect attention and maximize profits. That wasn't the subtext, that was the text. The concept of "carbon footprint" was invented for a BP ad campaign. Also, it's The Hard Times, do you feel this article is insufficiently researched?

      • tfb says:

        I may be missing context here (I don't know anything about the source), but my point was really that no, it's not the case that emissions caused by people are minute compared to those from industry: just because the oil companies etc are evil monsters does not make it OK for someone to keep driving their SUV instead of riding/public transport (passenger transport is ~7% of emissions), or to eat meat other than occasionally (~6%), or not insulate their house (~11%). The big corporations are vastly to blame: but so are we.

        • Dude says:

          The context is that the above article is from an Onion-style joke site, as per its snarky headline and text.

          Furthermore, those commodities you mention - SUVs, processed foods, insulation - are all made by mass conglomerates, the production of those commodities by said conglomerates creates a level of pollution that dwarfs that caused by the average person... by an insurmountable scale. A person could leave have their fireplace lit and leave their truck running 24/7/365 and it won't come close to the amount of CO-2 McDonald's meat plants put out on a daily basis.

          It's a cliche, but that makes it no less true: people are cogs in the wheels of the machine; the companies are the machine.

      • Jason Kaczor says:

        Also see - "Adam Ruins Everything: 'Going Green'" or a million other sources in print, web or media.

        Pushing the guilt back onto consumers allows corporations to completely ignore any real responsibilities.

        • margaret says:

          also true: pushing the guilt onto corporations allows consumers to ignore any real responsibilities.

          • Jason Kaczor says:

            Also true - consumers buy what is offered. And then complain if something isn't "perfect" (I am thinking say... the move to plastic fruit containers are the grocery store - they are ubiquitous now, where before you might have a cardboad 'basket')

            • margaret says:

              personal responsibility is dead. it's always someone else's fault.

              • jwz says:

                Keep separating your trash if it makes you feel better. Everyone needs a hobby. But it won't help.

                • margaret says:

                  fine - if it doesn't matter lets start recycling my motor oil down the storm drain. if it's not perfect it must be bad. fuck all.

                • margaret says:

                  by this cowardly logic the only entity that should do anything is the world's worst polluter and the rest of us can just kick back and do nothing. what a bunch of wasters.

                  • Erin M says:

                    I agree 100%. I fear this "recycling doesn't help" line that we keep hearing lately will have precisely the effect that people will just "give up". Let's absolutely put the spotlight on the major polluting corporations (and the EPA that lets them get away with it), but we also must reduce and reuse.

                    Jason's comment above is also true. When I go to the store, why do so many raw vegetables need to be individually plastic-wrapped? Why can't people put filtered water (or just plain tap water) into a reusable metal or glass water bottle instead of going through tons of plastic water bottles? They're just filled with tap water anyway. Takeaway food used to come in foil and cardboard, now it's mostly plastic and even styrofoam.

                    I don't accept that it's someone elses' problem. It's OUR problem as a species. It's bad enough that 40-50% of the US population would have no problem dumping motor oil down a drain and STILL thinks that climate change is a "lIbTaRD h0aX".

                    So yes, I'll continue sorting my trash, I'll continue avoiding unnecessary plastic, I'll continue using LED bulbs and I'll continue at least trying to be a responsible person as best I can.

                  • MattyJ says:

                    You do realize that a majority of the world's recyclables are shipped to China where they just bury it over there?

                    Separating your trash, at lest in the US, is literally useless.

                    I'm not sure anyone is suggesting we do _nothing_ but that what we are doing is not the right thing. The producers of all this crap should be responsible for at least a significant portion of it, instead of the 0% they are now.

                    Not sure why people are on board with the idea that the end consumer has to solve the recycling riddle. I'm not even a chemist.

                  • Lloyd says:

                    "kick back and do nothing" is, in essence, the argument that the Australian government tried to put forward at COP26.

                    What a bunch of wasters.

                • Jason Kaczor says:

                  Don't get me wrong - I do my "due diligence". I sort my trash, separate the recycling according to local rules. I "tsk" and half-heartedly scold both older and younger household family members on their inability to do the same tasks... I try to buy less packaging - I have recently switched to some decent cleaning solutions that you mix yourself - the powders come in brown-paper-bags - they smell nice and do a good job of actually cleaning.

                  I view sorting my trash as the new replacement for church - it's all "performative", letting people be "holier-than-thou", and that fundamentally I have to have some level of "faith" that at some point, maybe not today - that when they haul away my recycling, something good will be done with it.

                  It's like security theater when travelling through airports - you "do the thing" and hope for the best, even if you cynically know that the game is rigged.

                  (Some European countries bundle plastics into bales - and use those for synthetic fuel in specialized power-generation furnaces with filtering on the emissions... perhaps this is a better option than shipping it all to be buried or dumped at sea)

          • George Dorn says:

            A pointless distraction. Responsibility doesn't matter. Placing the blame as appropriately as possible makes zero difference in the average global temperature. No amount of finger-wagging, no matter how vigorous and righteous, will put out a wildfire or stop the icecaps from melting.

            But one group of responsibility-holders has been spending incredible amounts of money on PR campaigns to shift the guilt onto individuals in an effort to continue to be allowed to accelerate the problem, for profit.

          • drew says:

            Pushing the guilt onto corporations is taking responsibility

  2. Joe Luser says:

    decades of the "paper or plastic" charade did nothing and then one year california banned plastic bags and suddenly the annual coastal cleanup began logging a 75% reduction in plastic bag garbage washing up on shore.

    the ozone hole was getting pretty big to the point that even the reagan administration took note and in 1987 the world got together and banned chlorofluorocarbons. boom, hole began to close up.

    fracking drove the price of natural gas below that of coal. half of all US coal power plants have shut down in the last decade and the rest are on schedule to be shut down as well.

    if you are going to change something, you're either going to have to make a very good economic argument, or outlaw it. picking through your garbage is not going to work even a little bit

  3. Dude says:

    Wow... Who'da thunk that Jamie posting a funny joke article about corporate-hypocrisy-regarding-pollution would have triggered so many people to defend the corporations and chastise folks who don't compost?

    On the plus side, I now feel like rewatching Rick & Morty lampoon this very thing:

  4. prefetch says:

    Australia was doing the Right and Sensible Thing by shipping its trash overseas:

    The latest available data shows that Australia sent 1.2 million tonnes of waste to China in 2016-2017 — nearly double the previous estimate.

    About 30 per cent of Australia's recyclable waste is exported to China.

    But then China said "No" and they don't know what to do now. Recyclables will probably go into landfill until they boost capacity to process it themselves.

    But the focus is still in the right place:

    "The federal government needs to approve, as a matter of urgency, the current applications to export sorted plastics," Ms Read told the ABC.

    "That's an important way to keep the revenue coming in… to cope with the losses incurred by not being able to export mixed plastics."

  5. All carbon footprints should be reduced or eliminated. The big advantage with your own is that you can control much of that now without having to tame corporate power. And that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with separating trash. Deciding to install an induction stove instead of a gas one can make a big difference. Or use a window air conditioner instead of the wildly inefficient room ones. And so on. Almost anyone can find a way to be more efficient if they care to, and if not then whatever.

    And the carbon footprint concept is a great way of showing just how many orders of magnitude more industry contributes. It doesn't matter if industry came up with the metric for nefarious reasons because it points directly back at them.

  6. Alasdair says:

    We are burning fossil fuels for energy. There are only two methods of producing vast quantities of always-on energy. Nuclear and Hydro. One is dependent on geography. The other has been completely fucked over by the "Green" movement.

    The UK gets over 50% of its energy from wind on a good day, and less than 5% on a bad day. Sometimes windless days can last for weeks. There is no grid scale storage that can accommodate this. When there's no wind we burn gas, and sometimes even have to turn on coal plants.

    40 years of pushing for renewables and fossil fuel growth still outpaces it:

    Putin must be laughing all the way to the bank.

    The planet is fucked with a capital F.

    • Joe Luser says:

      producing vast amounts of "green" energy solves the overall problem in exactly the same way adding more lanes to a highway solves the traffic problem. which is to say that it does not.

      a smarter move would be to figure out a way to put the entire world into some sort of "lockdown" and reduce energy use across the board.

  7. Thomas Lord says:

    We all have to face it. The only real chance of not putting the final scorch marks on a formerly habitable and kinda nice planet is a cut-off of fossil fuels so rapid that there will be a huge economic crisis (bigger than any yet seen), and a huge crisis trying to keep people warm in extreme cold temperatures, cool in extreme hot, and a huge crisis rearranging how at least basic necessities are produced and distributed.

    Carbon budgets don't lie -- political utopian fantasies do.

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