Ignorance can’t be bliss

After the UN’s report that the Earth will greatly suffer from the devastating effects of climate change if action isn’t taken on the gubernatorial level, people want to push the blame onto something other than themselves. We should blame ourselves for the internalized laziness when we have been presented with the easy alternatives that could have helped lessen the negative effects we now face with climate change. This should make us feel bad. But in actuality, the future of Earth’s health does not lay in our individual hands, but in the fists of huge corporations whose less-than-satisfactory factory emissions put the Earth’s health in the most danger.

Companies use a variety of marketing strategies to shift the environmental blame from them to the people. Google celebrates Earth Day by featuring an artist on its home page and asking us to donate to a good cause that will help us win the fight against climate change. Even metaphorically, Google helped business and writing culture switch from never- ending sheets of paper ending up in landfills by creating its many extensions like Docs, Sheets, Hangout and their sharing abilities. As a writer, I have probably saved thousands of paper with Google’s help as my primary writing and collaborating companion. But Google and many companies like it who flaunt their eco-consciousness cannot care for the fate of Earth when their carbon emissions are so high with no change in sight. Google’s alone comes in at 40 percent of the internet’s emissions, according to a report from Quartz. Most internet users are unaware of this since Google searches inhabit cyberspace, the one place thought to be safe from environmental factors.

It isn’t all Google’s fault when it comes to carbon emissions. The companies contributing the most harmful greenhouse gas emissions include ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron according to a 2017 report from the Carbon Majors Database. These are the companies responsible for 71 percent of the harmful emissions since 1988. Again, while there are ways to change our behavior to benefit the Earth, the companies are still working against Earth’s necessities by refusing to change how they operate. We can change our food to organic and turn down our thermostat, what proves more difficult is changing how these companies operate and release their harmful emissions.

It is important to turn off the water while brushing your teeth and to switch to a mostly organic, free-range diet, but what’s even more important is to ensure these companies operate intentionally in the coming future. It is vital hold corporations accountable for their sketchy pollution practices. The important step to take in voting in the upcoming midterm election and each time from here on out. By voting the right candidate into office, companies will have to accept accountability for their pollutive plants and lack of care for Earth’s current and future state, and they will be forced to change.