Shameless

How shocking is it when you see a pregnant woman smoking.
Or a really fat person snorting down fast food.

Nothing against the individual per se, but it never ceases to jolt my perspective of how easily some people manage to to overlook not just common sense, but mainstream scientific discourse. And all for the sake of avoiding discomfort! Because that's all they're doing, right? Simply procrastinating lifestyle changes?

Put it this way: no one obese feels good about being obese. Beyond medical exception, being significantly overweight is a blatant denial of widespread and well-articulated health and nutrition rhetoric. But beyond the obvious, it's denial of specific social knowledge that has permeated our collective consciousness to a depth that it now produces an emotional by-product, one specific to such a set of circumstances.

And what is that by-product, you might ask? Shame!

I’ve identified shame as a root cause of inaction. When we do things we know we shouldn't, we feel ashamed. So shouldn’t that apply to climate change too? We KNOW how bad the environmental crisis is, we KNOW the trajectory along which it is escalating and we KNOW how to live in a much more eco-friendly way. So why does it take us so long?! Not just to make change, but to feel shame in the first place.

It seems to me that regarding environmental responsibility, for the most part we are completely shameless. This is what is translating to morbidly limited proactivity in our everyday approach to climate change.

Far out man. I literally cant take plastic bags from the supermarket anymore out of shame. It sucks! And it's not a high-and-mighty thing! It's just that I know how bloody toxic they are, and also how bloody avoidable they are. I can't be the only one suffering this inability to cognitive dissent from eco-responsibility. It's a fairly simple result I suppose, belying hours of mind-aching about how obsessed we are with disposables, and the implications of being responsible for adding more plastic to our environment. The pressure is real!

Too much information can be so prohibitive on your life. I’m truly envious of those who can ignore their various anxieties about the wider world around them and simply shut down their consciousness. Ignorance really looks like bliss.

But think about the pregnant smoking woman again for a second. Nothing gets raised eyebrows quicker than stuff like that - so when will the same go for people double-bagging single bottles of milk at the Woolies checkout? People who insist on sitting in cafes drinking coffee out of takeaway cups? People who drive 500m down the road instead of walk?

Sadly it is entirely incumbent on the individual to practice humility. To sense the shame in carelessly perpetuating a serious problem with no thought to future generations who will wear the consequences. To make change.

Don’t excuse yourself from action!

Don’t do nothing!