Structure and Agency

I view the crisis as being a combination of both structure and agency with more emphasis on structure. Today we live in a capitalist economy with promotes consumerism and results in people trying to make the most money as possible. Promoting productivity is good, but when it gets out of hand, I think it is easier to ignore what the effects of large-scale production on other people and on the planet.

I think changing some of our goals would be part of the solution to the environmental crisis, and that goes along with changing how our economy works. Features of our political and economic system heavily influence the way we think, so by changing the system, the way we think will also shift. The news we hear and the information we learn in school also influences the way we think. The environmental crisis is not emphasized in the news yet it is such a big problem. In grade school, I was taught to be good to the planet by recycling, composting, and picking up trash even if it wasn’t mine. Even though these are important ideas to keep, I never learned the truth about how drastic the environmental crisis is. I believe this crisis stems largely from the systems we have in place today, so working to solve the problem will include changes in the structure of our social, political, and economic systems.

My emotional response to this issue is a feeling of powerlessness. Capitalism has led way to a small group of people at the top with lots of power and many people at the bottom with little power. Some people at the bottom may also look up to the people in power and aspire to be them, or in that 1%. Sometimes it feels like its hard to make a difference because of these powerful people and corporations that have so much more say in the world. I do hear about stories about individuals and groups of people changing the world, and these stories bring me hope.
I included this video about charts because a lot of information about climate change is shown on graphs. I found it interesting how different the same results could look depending on the scale of the y-axis and where it started.

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