In Wednesday’s column, we talked about what difference a single person’s actions could have on the global environment. After all, with something like 250 million registered cars in America alone, how can my decision about whether to drive an SUV have much impact?
So if the icecaps are melting and the oceans rising, don’t blame me! At least that’s the feeling that a lot of people seem to be sharing—inaction fueled by a sense of helplessness.
And the suggestion that I made on Wednesday, that we judge our actions by the standard that says it’s okay to do something only if it would okay if everybody else did the same thing? That’s a tough rule to live by.
Back when I was a teenage know-it-all, I adopted that adolescent cynicism that is so attractive at that age. And I mentioned to one of my teachers that it didn’t really matter how you voted, since elections are almost never decided by a single vote.
Much smarter than me, he was able to sneer even better than I could.“It matters to you,” he said. Doing the right thing, making the right choice, voting for the right person?
“It matters to you.”
It doesn’t matter whether we believe that recycling our recyclables or turning out the lights when we leave the room really will have an impact on climate change on a global scale.
The question is, does it matter to you?
This column is an online experiment in whether Americans can discuss tough issues in a civil way.
Come on! Please add a comment below.
(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)