The question as to who is to blame for the inaction regarding climate change is neither new nor is it easy to answer. As stated by the assigned reading, we can see that ecological studies related to chemistry and thermal interactions goes back to the 19th Century. The fallacy that innovation and discovery enact action represents a large part of the issue: although we as a society can come to conclusions, sometimes blatantly, whether or not we produce action is another question. Empirical evidence is often lauded by most to be the only thing needed to convince people to believe or support theoretical claims. This common sentiment, however, is not supported by reality—much of society questions the validity of those who make controversial scientific claims, which scientists like Tyndall and Foote both did.
(Pictured above: “Keeling Curve” – Displaying the natural “respiration” of CO2 levels during the winter and summer, but also the exponential rise in net amount of CO2.)
Convenience has much to do with the amount of damage we are willing to accept, and the economic interests of many companies far outweigh the morality of their exploits. We, as consumers, are unknowingly supporting the bottom-line producers of goods (as they create the best value-for-cost product). As a result, there becomes an incentive for suppliers to create goods at the lowest costing levels, while streamlining production and distribution. This process often comes at the cost of ecological health. An example of how the question of, “Who is to blame for this?” can be shown using the thought experiment, “The Tragedy of the Commons”:
Although everyone is able to use the land to its fullest capacity, everyone actually doing so depletes the environment of its beneficial capabilities.
By understanding how society views scarce goods, and we prioritize morality and commodification, we can see that all of us are directly (although often unknowingly) related to inaction for climate change mitigation.