Source: the late Dr. Stephen Schneider, Professor and climate scientist at Stanford University, from an iTunes recording from his address at Climate One at the Commonnwealth Club in San Francisco on November 3, 2009.
Notes: During this talk, the host of ClimateOne, Greg Dalton, asked Dr. Schneider if 'Do you think that individual actions on cilmate change sometimes trivializes insignifciant given then scale of what we need to do? For instance, buying a Pruis may make you feel good and address your guilt but it does not really do much.'
Extended Quote by Dr. Schneider to answer this question:
"It reminds me when I first testified in 1988 to the Senate. Senator (Richard) Bryan from Nevada was having a hearing trying to increase the CAFE standards, that's the gas milage standards. Had he succeeded would have prevented Detriot from going into the tank because they now would have been able to compete with more efficient (auto) makers. In any case, (oppononts) were accusing me of being the enemy of the children of the workers...
One of the guys from the auto industry said, 'Come on. The United States is only 22% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions...and U.S. transportation industry is only 1/3 of that. If we impose these standards this only saves a few percentage points and my company is only 1% (of the problem). We will then have a tremendous loss of income and it will be swamped by Chinese population growth in one year.'
I was asked by the Senator: 'What you say to this argument?'
(My response was) I heard the coal industry say the U.S. is only 22% of the world's emissions. Coal is only responsible for 45% of that. If we add a $100 a ton carbon tax, the coal miner's daughters would all be living in poverty and we would only save 3% of the world's emission and that would be swamped by Indian coal use in 4 years.
So I have heard 100 people telling me each one are only responsible for 1% of the problem. Therefore, they demand exemption. So, what do you have got? 100% of the problem.
Everyone has to do their own fair share.
The argument that 'I'm too small to make a difference' is the equilivent of saying, 'Why should I pay my taxes? I mean after all, I am only one millionith, if that or maybe less, of the national income, so I am way too small. And why should I vote? I am only one vote?'
If we don't do our own private due dilligence and eveyone follows that model than what we have is mass irresponsibility.
You cannot use the argument 'I'm so small.' Everybody has to do their share."
Additional Notes: The Dalai Lama once said, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
Image Source: dailymail.co.uk