The Relationship of Structure and Agency to the Crisis

1. I believe the environmental crisis is caused by structural problems. In sociology, it says people are affected by a society which the people belong, so structural factors are more important. For instance, according to Huff post, “You’re Probably Going To Throw Away 81 Pounds Of Clothing This Year”, every year, over 26 billion pounds of textiles and clothes, which is same as 330 million clothes, ending up in landfills, even though those clothes are brand new. I assume this amount waste is because of the capitalism. Over thousands of clothing brand create new designs and sell new season’s clothing four times in every year. They compete with other shops, and pursuit the profit. That causes the number of unsold products. The clothing brand pursuit only the profit, not the environmental problems.

2. When people buy something, they tend to focus how cheap it is. It causes making more, selling more, and get the more profit, but I think we need to get out of this way of thinking. Do not buy products just because they are cheap. Buying something because it lasts longer and good for the earth. I believe this way of thinking makes people feel better than when people think nothing with buying products and while they are using the stuff. Recently, it starts that people tend to buy products because of a story of the product. This system makes people buy items that they feel sympathy, and try to last them longer than mass production. I hope this is a good way to deal with capitalism economics system. Do not buy products because of prices but stories, then, people will interact with the products while those items last, and it makes their life richer and the earth healthier.

3. With my emotional response to the environmental problems, I feel a sense of powerlessness and emptiness because when I came to the United States, I was shocked by the number of cars. In my home country, Japan, media told that exhaust gas from the car is a big reason for the climate change. I thought I knew it, but I was not. The number of cars in the United States is way more huge than Japan has. I try to use public transportations, bicycle, and walk, but at that time, I thought if I was born in the United States, I might care about the climate change, however, I would not say exhaust gas is a big problem because the social structure makes me think that we must need cars. Using private cars might cause the climate change, but we cannot think to stop it. We can reduce using cars, but people who were born in the United States does not have the habit to use public transportation, bike, and walk. That situation makes me feel a sense of powerlessness.


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