Another Climate Change Article…

But I promise, this one won’t focus on planetary collapse.

Every article I read on climate change reiterates the idea that we’re going to die no matter what we do. That turns me away from even reading articles on climate change. But it’s a topic that we must talk about in order to change our habits, not at just a personal level, but at a societal level and even maybe a global level.

On the micro level, we know there is only so much that we can actually do to combat climate change. Some topics I will talk about will include ideas and critiques that can happen at the personal and societal levels.

There is the obvious “buy green” slogan that we all love and abide by because it’s a little bit easier to buy green than it is to actually change our habits. There seems to be a green alternative for everything, from toilet paper to shampoo. But what if we actually even cut back our usage on that, or were even smarter about how much of even that we buy?

Photo by CDC on Unsplash (wholesome, thanks CDC)

But enough of this personal crap. Everyone knows what they can buy to reduce their footprint. What we really need is a fundamental transformation of society. What I care about most in this aspect is a transformation of the American town.

The American town is kind of a dead thing. Most towns are divided into one small main street surrounded by suburbs. In the suburbs, there are no stores. We all have to get back into our clunky cars and drive to and fro in case we want to do pretty much everything. But what if there was another way?

What if we were able to transform those suburbs? What if the suburbs were actually focused on a town center? Hypothetically, one could get all their shopping done without ever having to get into a car. I think that’s what the most sought after towns have; a center in which people can hang out, get lunch, do some reading, walk their dogs or whatever it is people in the suburbs love to do.

Sidenote; I moved back to the suburbs a few months pre-pandemic, and I absolutely hate it. It feels dead and lifeless all the time and I have to drive E V E R Y W H E R E.

Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash (this isn’t me just some random dude, for clarification)

But of course, this kind of transformation would take a massive amount of construction and lifestyle changes that we will never make as an American society. So this idea is out from the start.

But another idea!

I have worked in retail for the past 10 or so years, partially to pay for college and partially because it’s an easy thing for me to learn wherever I go. Now I work a client focused sales job, but in an upscale retail setting. But what does this have to do with Climate Change?

Well, for one, the waste in retail is absolutely astounding. Over the years, I have seen so much wrapping and cardboard just thrown away. I have ordered hundreds of pieces of cardboard in order to “re-box” shoes so people would buy them. Such an absolute waste!

Not to mention the energy used to sustain these massive buildings at all hours. A positive environmental note about the pandemic was that for 2 weeks at the beginning, all of these stores were just shut down. No lights. No wasted papers.

Think about it though. Stores, like the one I work at now, literally keep lights on overnight, so that way customers can see our beautiful products in the windows. That’s cool and all, but I mean, is it really worth all that energy expenditure?

So how do we change this? How can I, Matthew David, shut the lights off at a big retail store?

Well, the one thing that stores like to do is to save money. The pandemic has triggered many of these stores to cut spending in certain places, and certain places have actually cut hours based on the little amount of foot traffic they were getting after a certain time. Ergo, if you stop going out to stores after 7 p.m., the corporate elites will realize, “Hey, we’re losing money for no reason, shut ‘er down boys and girls!”

This happened with my store. There is absolutely no reason for us to be open after 7 p.m. Some people might get triggered that they can’t drunkenly walk around my place after dinner, but to hell with them anyway. I don’t want your drunk ass in my store, not buying anything, and making me stand there and look productive. I want to write poorly written articles like this one, dammit!

The point is that we can actually DO something about climate change, or at least the retail segment in which we control. We CONTROL the money in our pockets, we CONTROL what time and how we shop. Use them for good, effective means. You are powerful beyond measure, if you just looked at your habits and stopped giving all of your money and attention to places that are literally using up resources they don’t need to be using. We don’t need the government to slap them on the wrists, we need to force these places to do what we like, because we have the thing they need the most; money.

Superb.

/End Rant.

Philosopher. Lover of Coffee. I write about Modern Life, the Arts, and the Philosophy of Everyday Things.