Your “carbon footprint” Is Infinitesimal

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Sun, 01/22/2023 - 23:50

Guest article by Win Flint

Phone calls have infinite potential

We all want to see the truly enormous changes required of our nation and world to mitigate and slow climate change. Only government has the power to mandate and implement the needed systemic changes. Getting government to change requires legislation and for that to happen, politicians need to change. They only do this after extreme pressure from voters.

So British Petroleum (BP) and the fossil energy empires are doing everything they can to prevent people from uniting for change. Hence the “carbon footprint”.

BP is the one that came up with the idea of the “carbon footprint”—not anyone in the climate movement—not any climate scientist. Its cynical goal was to get individuals to focus on their individual impacts concerning the climate rather than political solutions. So now we have millions of people convinced that if only we recycled more or gave up meat then all would be well.  We have been lulled into thinking that reducing our plastic use is sufficient for fighting the climate war.

Yes, the impacts of meat and plastic are important, and there are individual actions that can influence political solutions and make an even greater contribution to preventing further climate change. We can change the carbon footprint of our society.

If we put the same kind of energy we use to debate merits comparing two dishwashers to even a bit of political work—now that would be impactful.

An after-hours phone call to our local legislator saying “My name is X. I live at Y. And I am a climate voter” is a great first step.

Doing it after hours is great for introverts who don’t like awkward conversations. Phone calls are much more valuable than emails since it requires more effort. And legislators know that one call can mean 10 voters—the caller, their family, their friends, and their neighbors. Politicians take these calls very seriously and you can bet they are tracked. Phone calls are also good for legislators who are already doing the right things. The same script with a “Thank You” at the end will make their day. 

Win Flint is a member of in Lowell and her climate specialty is extreme heat in cities.