I sat in my privilege today. I used my spare time today to log in to the websites of three different mailers that go to my mailbox to unsubscribe. I spent the time to search for the number and look up ‘xyz mailing unsubscribe’ and completed the process. I did it because I have time to do it. Every individual is not going to do what I did. We cannot expect them to. The policy that allows hundreds of thousands of unsolicited mailings to land in hundreds of millions of homes around the US every year is failing us. That is a horrific waste of trees, paper, water, energy to power the trucks and the manpower that places those things in our mailboxes. Most of these items go directly in the trash without being opened. It is a waste of earth’s shared resources.
So I sat in my privilege of having the time to do something about an environmental debacle (for me only), in the privilege of not needing the coupons to shop (maybe, I’ve honestly never once opened the Clipper in 17 years), and in the privilege of owning a home that the coupons get mailed to.
This is our problem with our approach to environmental stewardship. Everything we expect people to do to save the earth requires privilege. Often, it means someone is white and rich. They have the time to investigate where items go to recycle and to compost their own kitchen scraps. They have an extra $70K lying around to buy a Tesla. This is not going to work.
We cannot criticize the poor for their choices, because they have none. It is the rich and privileged that have the choices. We must implement policies that make it easy for the poorest person to make good environmental choices. I don’t believe people want to destroy their environment, but some people have no other option. It is the companies, the governments and the billionaires who have choices and need to lead with policy and invest in a sustainable revolution.
“To those who have been given much, much is to be expected.”