How can you advocate this when you drive a car/ take plane flights/ eat meat/ etc?

A dominant discourse in talking about the climate has long been about individually reducing your carbon footprint. This discourse is also sometimes used to dismantle political action through accusing the advocates of change as being imperfect or hypocritical. If you face this question, here is what we suggest you say:

"The only conceivable way to save civilization is through coordinated collective action. The ecological, social, and economic crises we face are simply too enormous and too systemic. Uncoordinated, voluntary actions by conscientious individual citizens cannot possibly prevent the collapse of civilization. We are all caught up in this carbon-intense system. So, while I do make some alterations in my lifestyle to reduce my carbon footprint, I do not view this as an effective strategy. I put the majority of my energy into instigating the Climate Mobilization."

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  • commented 2016-03-16 06:03:22 -0400
    I’d say individual action is both an effective and absolutely crucial action. Individual action alone, by the few who care enough and are in a position to make it, is without a doubt utterly incapable of changing society enough to save civilization. But it’s not alone; our whole selves have to be integrated and committed—inner, outer personal, familial, community, and political (locally, regionally, nationally and internationally). Our personal changes inspire both ourselves and others. They give us knowledge about what’s possible, and allow us to achieve the agency to teach ourselves and others how to be joyful living the life we must all live soon. That can reduce resistance, even create converts to the political actions that will ultimately determine the amount of carbon emitted. On many fronts, personal, family and small community change helps us make progress not possible without the integration and personal, full-spectrum emotional involvement.