A Drop in the Bucket
Many of us are conscious of huge global disparities. We realize that the 12 percent of the world’s population in North America and Europe accounts for 60 percent of private consumption spending, while the 35 percent living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.2 percent. We are aware that the 5 percent of the global population residing in the United States uses about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources—we are wired to use too much energy, too much oil, too much food and too much technology.
Yet these are systemic issues. My own commitment to use public transit means little if government policies continue to allow highway widening and the building of suburban communities farther away from work centers, so that other households are buying two and three vehicles to manage their transportation needs. My recycle bin would be unnecessary if my political leaders would simply reinstitute a small deposit on glass, metal and plastic beverage containers.
A persistent, deadening logic eventually raises its head in any conversation I have about accountability for the environment: “What good does it do if I recycle this cup? Or don’t shop at Wal-Mart? Everyone else still does it. Personal lifestyle changes are such a small drop in the bucket, they have almost no impact.”
What difference can our personal choices make? Which choices will have the most impact? Find out by reading the full text of this article in the July/August issue of Horizons.
Call 800/524-2612 or subscribe to Horizons or order the July/August 2007 issue (HZN-07-230; $4 plus shipping).
Dee Dee Risher edited The Other Side, a magazine that sought to give voice to those on the “other side” of world power and wealth and to break through barriers of race, class, nationality, gender and sexual identity. Dee Dee loves to garden and hang clothes while she listens to the birds. She lives and writes in Philadelphia.
Photo by Scott Raffe/ibidPhotos.com
Other Articles Online This Issue
Items underlined can be seen in this Web site, all others appear in the July/August 2007 (HZN-07-230) issue of Horizons magazine.