In addressing the self-righteousness or “greener than you” syndrome that can occur when one tries to reduce one’s footprint on the earth, I compared the situation to pet owners who are indignant at how irresponsible other pet owners are. I know I get disgusted and peeved when I see dog poop around the neighborhood or at a park. Why can’t people just do the right thing? Sometimes it leaves me smoldering. Don’t they see that if everyone let their dogs poop everywhere, the world would be pretty gross?
Similarly, don’t people see that if we all continue to pollute and consume at our current levels, the world is not going to be pretty? Everyone around the world saw the smog in China during the Olympics, yet that hasn’t been enough to motivate people to make serious and drastic changes.
The main reason I get upset about dog poop and abandoned cats is that I don’t know how to convince people to change their actions. It’s easy to dismiss these “bad” pet owners as uncaring. Generally, they do care, I think. They’re either uninformed, or they have a different belief system, or they don’t seei what is in it for them. Others will say they’re just too busy and/or too tired.
The problem we have with animal protection and environmental movements is that a small number are trying really hard to make a difference, while a large number don’t know what to do or what difference it makes, and others believe that Christ/Redemption is coming, so nothing we do really matters. How on earth do we counter that and get people to do something?
I know I haven’t been very successful at registering people to vote who feel that “my vote doesn’t matter.” But then when I ran for office, people told me that being able to vote for me was the reason they registered, and that I was the first person they ever voted for. So, maybe the only way to reach people is by seeking leadership positions.