Dear Editor

Thanks for the thoughtful editorial of June 29th in the e-edition of The Review.

It made me think about individual change.

Consider mindfulness. It seeks to shift the problem of social degradation from organizations to individuals by suggesting it will all be much better if we change ourselves instead of the reason for the degradation.

Likewise, environmental change has cynically been delegated to individuals: if you don’t compost or drive an EV, or aren’t vegan, or don’t vote one way or another, you are responsible for the state of the planet.

This, like mindfulness, is BS.

Elected officials are subject every few years to the whim of people who are polarized and fed disinformation, and can do little. Moreover, they are often funded by the real culprits.

Individuals simply can’t make big enough changes and, like mindfulness, asking them to do so is forcing them to adapt to the environment rather than addressing the real problem.

The real culprits in the degradation of the planet are not individuals.

The real culprits are big oil, big tech, big clothing, big ag, big banks that finance them… They pollute, enslave, degrade and otherwise hurt people and planet because they are hardly ever held accountable except to their shareholders (who desire a decent retirement or just money) and the ‘market’.

Because we let them. For cheap cornflakes, cheap shoes, cheap flights…

The keyword here is ‘big’, because only if the big change can big change happen.

If you want to feel good about your life and the little difference you make, sure, drive an EV, compost, eat less meat. It will do no harm. If you want your children and grandchildren to have a life, change the big organizations. Petition shareholders and investment groups, ensure your pension fund acts ethically and values the environment, find out if the places you shop or invest live up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, change your bank and above all else, if they insist on disrespecting everything you care about, stop buying their stuff, and tell them why.

You have a choice.

If you want change, you’re not going to get it by composting if the oil company next door keeps drilling for more and more oil so you can fly to Cancun for the holidays.

Your activism in what you buy, where you invest and who you do business with is important. Individual change is not going to work. What is needed is to change the culprits. This is the change individuals must make, because only by changing the behaviour of those we give our money can we change our future.

Put your money where your mouth is, and make change.

With best wishes,

Steve Marsh