How do you justify polluting?

August 14, 2015 by Joshua
in Awareness, Nature

A friend commented on my experiment not to buy food where I’d have to throw away wrapping after, “Avoiding food packaging” and “Buying no food with packaging, eighteen days and counting.” I started doing it mainly to pollute less. He said “You know, the difference you’ll make on the world is less than a billionth of a percent?”

That’s how he justified whatever behavior he does that pollutes.

I responded, “I care about what I’m responsible for.

I don’t take responsibility for anyone else’s behavior, nor was I criticizing his. He has his values and he lives by them. I try not to impose my values on others. But I take responsibility for my actions and their results on others. To me, it’s a matter of integrity. I live in a world polluted by billions of people before me and I will leave behind a world affected by me. I don’t like the pollution I was born into and I want to be responsible for as little pollution to others, even after I die.

It turns out the experiment led me to change my behavior more than I expected, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and cooking at home a lot more. The change improved my life a lot. Eating is a big part of life. I can’t believe I waited this long to make this change.

I find holding yourself accountable tends to improve one’s life.

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2 responses on “How do you justify polluting?

  1. I hear a lot of similar responses to other choices which generally boil down to “this isn’t a silver bullet, so why bother at all?”. They can be frustrating to hear, and as you alluded to, I’ve started seeing them more as defensive remarks rather than serious critique.

    • Exactly!

      They’re like a smoker who claims to explain why they can’t quit, but anyone who pays attention can tell they’re saying why they won’t quit, because everyone knows they can if they put in the effort.

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