The Problem With the “If Only Everyone Did X” Mindset
If you ever find yourself in eco-communities, either in-person or online, you’ve no doubt heard someone say something along the lines of “If only everyone did X.” You can sub in X for a various number of green practices, like recycling, riding a bike, or, of course, going vegan. But while this kind of idea seems nice on the outside, a closer inspection reveals that it has a few flaws—three, in particular, are summarized below.
Perhaps the most obvious flaw in the above mindset is that it’s unrealistic. Human nature dictates that it’s virtually impossible to get everyone to do anything, especially if there’s no immediate reward. Climate change and global warming will take a lot of hard work to minimize, and it will not happen overnight. There’s also the fact that there is no one thing that everyone can do—it’s a combination of intrinsic changes that we need.
It Shifts the Blame
Even if everyone did, say, only use fabric grocery bags, a huge difference would not really occur (although there would be one). This is because the issue is not with people, but companies. Did you know that the top companies create 630 million tons of greenhouse gasses every year, compared to the average citizen’s 16? There’s never a need to shame or guilt anyone for not doing one particular thing to ‘save the Earth’ since really, they are in no way responsible.
Everyone has different situations regarding health, income, and opportunity. What comes easily and is reasonable for one person may be unattainable for another. Getting upset with others for not making certain green changes without knowing their personal circumstances (which is their own business) can be hurtful, and can actually turn some away about learning more about what they can do to help minimize the causes of global warming.
Sure, it would be nice if everyone did certain things, but this mindset proves to be overall unproductive and unhelpful. Instead, it could be better to work on oneself and their own practices, and to pin the blame on the real culprit: large companies.