All posts tagged: self-interest

How do we mobilize society to stop global warming?

I just read Bill McKibben’s terrifying new article in Rolling Stone. I won’t recount the math here, but it’s enough to get anyone working on social issues (as I do) to question their priorities. Clearly, we need a massive social effort to confront the power of the fossil fuel industry — and we need it soon (i.e. yesterday). But we face major hurdles in constructing such a movement. McKibben explains: Most of us are fundamentally ambivalent about going green: We like cheap flights to warm places, and we’re certainly not going to give them up if everyone else is still taking them. Since all of us are in some way the beneficiaries of cheap fossil fuel, tackling climate change has been like trying to build a movement against yourself – it’s as if the gay-rights movement had to be constructed entirely from evangelical preachers, or the abolition movement from slaveholders. [my emphasis] Social movements are born out of collective self-interest — but the self-interest has to be felt. As Phil Aroneanu, also of 350.org, explained …