Given the COP26 action plan, this is hilarious. It’s also depressing, because it shows how absurd the whole climate change action plan really is. Taking baby steps when we should be single-minded in preventing this planet becoming hostile to human life.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the billions that may be released for green initiatives every year. It’s that I don’t see anything that makes me think we are treating climate change like the life-or-death emergency it is.

Imagine you’re in a spaceship floating through space. A spaceship whose life support systems make it self-sustainable by offering its passengers all the oxygen, all the food and clean water, and the energy they need to thrive. Not survive, but thrive. An environment that, if not pushed beyond its limits, can sustain itself forever. Just as well, because this is the only spaceship you have.

Lose it, and you’re done.

But there’s an idiot tampering with the life support systems. Because it’s “profitable”. Because the idiot says, it will give everyone snazzy new devices to waste time on and make spending money easier.

And he’s not alone. There are other idiots who drive the systems harder, because it increases margins. Because it drives production efficiency. Because it allows 24-hour shipping, and bigger SUV’s, and 245 channels all beamed into your living room for your viewing pleasure. Never mind that the sweatshops where consumer products are produced have nets to catch suicidal workers. Never mind that the process poisons your water and gives you cancer and takes away your children’s right to live on this spaceship. Elsewhere in the spaceship, people are already dying.

What do you do to those idiots?

Stick them in an airlock and blast them out to space?

But we don’t. Why are we talking about plans that might have an impact by 2050, while our actions point to a different direction? Why are we talking about phasing out coal, but not doing a thing about the fossil fuel industry subsidies? Why are we not killing the companies that are responsible for climate change?

Oh, you think I’m missing the financial complexities of saving the environment? We carried out total war on a planetary scale twice in the 20th century. We split the atom. We put a man on the moon. I’m sure we can figure this out.

This is where we’re heading. This is what’s already happening. Climate refugees. Extreme weather. Agricultural failure. Now. Not in some science fiction movie.

So, please, take the idiots messing with the life support systems seriously. Stop buying from the Nestle’s of the world. Choose renewable energy. Vote for the people whose concern is the survival of the species rather than maximizing profits for the Bezos’ of the world. Then, hold them accountable.

As a person I greatly admire always says, “actions matter more than words”. Do you have full control over climate change? Of course not. Because, in the end of the day, it is a complex issue. Does that excuse you from not doing everything you can to stop the idiots messing with the life support systems?

You tell me.

I’m currently having a discussion with friends (partially driven by my last post-Do No Harm) about whether personal action counts for more than corporate responsibility when it comes to impacting climate change.

There is a difference of course between how much an individual impacts climate change and how corporations are reacting to what the individuals want. I can promise you Evil Corp would become green very fast if all its customers demanded it. Case in point, plant milk. Old hippies and vegetarians/vegans kept asking for it for decades and the market complied.

So, let’s talk about personal accountability.

Of the choices with the highest impact that an individual can have on the environment, switching to a mostly plant-based diet is near the top according to this oft-cited study (you can get a summary and a great visualization of the results here). It’s not at the very top of actions one can take, but I feel that it’s the most accessible compared to, say, choosing to not reproduce or living car-free which depends on your local infrastructure and a bunch of other factors (and there’s also green energy, which I’ll touch on in another post).

This impact calculator of various foods by the BBC and these statistics point to the same conclusion. Beef, dairy, and shrimps are having a huge impact in comparison to other foods. The lower you get in the food pyramid, the lower the environmental impact. Which is a shame, because I’m sure you love your steak as much as I used to love shrimps.

But, don’t worry. I won’t go into preachy vegetarian territory. This isn’t even a post on vegetarianism.

Look…Let’s be pragmatic. No one can change their habits overnight. It took me years of research to switch to a low-carbon diet.

But I feel that I can’t sit on my ass waiting for the world around me to get fixed. Things don’t work that way. Corporations want nothing but your money. That’s the hill they’ll die on. They will burn down the Amazon and turn it into pastures because there is a demand they are willing to satisfy. Hell, they’ll kill people to cater to the market. No one’s culinary preference is worth all this misery and destruction.

Could you consider changing your habits bit by bit? Say, go meatless for a couple of days a week or switch to chicken? Would you consider cooking seasonally? Transportation plays into the equation as well. Eating plants shipped from halfway around the world won’t help the climate cause either.

You and I are the market. We make the rules. The best corporations can do is lie about what’s good for you, like that time they convinced us that cocaine in soda was an intellectual’s drink, or that time they convinced us that we had to propose with a diamond ring, then made us pay out of the nose for one.

I’ll leave a few resources below on low-carbon eating, I hope you can get some use out of them. Please don’t wait for others to save the day. Start with yourselves. And please write to me with suggestions on how to minimize impact on the environment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What is a low carbon diet

Good guidelines for a low carbon diet

Low carbon recipes and how transportation and seasonality play into the equation

More recipes