Climate Change is such a vast topic, that it influences almost every aspect of life. Due to this ever presence it is easy to get lost in the little things. To be frustrated about a plastic toothbrush, a single-use bag in the supermarket or somebody that does not close the fridge quickly enough. These are small things that can be really frustrating to witness. For me personally it is seeing what the people in the supermarket put in their baskets, it is a trigger against many of my beliefs. And it can genuinely rattle me. The problem of these small things is that it can create an overwhelming feeling. It can cause us to freeze instead of acting.
Small things add up and are definitely important in the global picture. However, as we have limited time and energy, it is important to use that as wisely as possible. A plastic straw in a drink is unnecessary, but put that to scale and that straw might not even be the worst part of that drink. Often there are much more meaningful things around, even in that very drink. Perhaps you are drinking a rum that came from South America, grown in unsustainable crops and then shipped half way around the world. If that drink is drunk on a tropical beach, flying is probably the real topic to discuss. This does not mean the plastic straw isn’t bad, but often there are things that are much worse.
Elephant in the room
It is remarkable how often people talk about sustainability, but somehow forget the real contributors of climate change. It is as if we talk about climate change, but ignore the elephant in the room. If you fly and travel to tropical climates in order to help them reduce plastic straws, that is a good initiative. However, you flying there probably causes much more harm to the environment then the benefit it gains from it. As a Carbon Pirate it is important to keep the balance of things in mind. Try to focus on the things that currently matter most to climate change and in which you can make the most impact. Talk about meat consumption, flying, cooling and heating, etc. Read your target audience and see what might have the biggest impact on them. Don’t try to convince meat lovers to become 100% vegetarian, but try to motivate them to eat a little less. Focus on long-term results instead of short-term gain. If the whole world eats 20% less meat, that is much more effective than 1% eating no meat at all. You can read more about our beliefs about climate change. We call this reductionisme over extremism.