by Jim Shultz — YES! Magazine
The challenge before us is to change the behavior of billions of people in very deep ways, very fast. We will need to do more than just change people’s consciousness; we also need to fundamentally change the choices and options that surround us. If we want people to move out of cars and into public transit, then public transit needs to be efficient and affordable. If we want poorer nations to stop decimating rainforests for grazing and agricultural land, then we need to help assure that the people living in those forests can sustain themselves there in a dignified way, and that nations can develop without decimating the environment. If we want to get rid of our addiction to fossil fuels, we need to develop other ways to keep the lights on.
The roads for action beyond Paris will be many. Some will steer toward direct action against dirty energy projects, others will aim at promoting personal ways to live more sustainably. But to alter human activity on the vast scale required, one tool will remain essential: using the powers of citizen democracy to change public policy. Our deep disappointments with politics aside, getting governments to take action still remains the indispensible tool for altering both corporate behavior, and humanity’s.