Editor’s note: Chances are you’ve encountered these kinds of arguments yourself. I’ve included lots of links in this article for your reference!
I absolutely adore certain kinds of self-described “environmentalists” “vegan activists” and (insert various cause here) “advocates.” The issue I take with this particular crowd is that, when you look at their lives, you’ll find there their beliefs have very little impact on their daily lives. Or maybe more specifically I should say that the impact their beliefs have on their daily lives has little bearing on the problems they claim to care so much about.
There’s a lot of ironies to be had among those of a self-perceived “moral high ground.” Let me illustrate some examples.
There is the environmentalist who likes to explain how it’s those law-abiding hunters and trappers who are responsible for the extinction of species. Don’t mind the monetary contributions they make to local economies and conservation efforts they make. In fact, it means nothing that from 2011 to 2016 there was a 22% drop in hunting expenditure due to changing demographics and interest in the sport. Nature is so beautiful, there’s never an excuse to tamper with it. Except when you need factories and plants to build and power your brand new electric compact car fresh off the assembly line and shipped from overseas.
Never mind when there are predators wiping out ranchers’ livestock or someone happens to enjoy fresh gamey venison or there are overpopulation issues. Just remember they’re the anti-environmentalists, not you. Neverminded the fact that you just bought a house in the latest up and coming development.
Let’s not forget the vegan who is always ready to explain just how horrible animal agriculture is for the environment. Did you know the amount of livestock on the face of the planet generate more pollution into the atmosphere than all the fuel burned by vehicles, aircraft, and watercraft combined? Not eating animal products is the single biggest thing you can do to save the planet! Yep, that’s right. Just buy some more expensive highly-processed vegan alternatives and you’re doing your share to save the planet. Don’t worry about needing to drive less, recycle, or cut down on your other spending. That will barely make a dent in the bigger and larger issues of the world.
After all, there’s a more “sustainable” vegan option (that automatically means its sustainable right?) for everything, you can still do your shopping till your heart’s content. Just make sure your splurging hauls only contain “cruelty-free” cosmetics. If you love the natural look of animals’ natural beauty – fear not! You can get a factory made polyester “fur” and pleather made from the finest polyurethane China can afford.
With a plethora of brands and marketplaces, there is no issue with simply changing up where you buy. That’s a pretty painless way to claim you are “making a difference” in the world.
You don’t have to make uncomfortable changes and the responsibility is miserable. You can burn up as much coal as you like, drive and fly as many miles as you need and still keep that nice carbon footprint because you, dear consumer, don’t dare support big greedy agri-corporations.
I rarely hear anyone challenge consumerism in our culture. Really, think about it. I spend a good deal of time surfing YouTube while I work. The beauty gurus, the films critics, the vlogs yeah I’m guilty of it all. If you spend any time on such social media, you may have noticed that they often try and sell you a thing or two. Or a thing and several thousand. They showcase luxurious lifestyles, throw affiliate links, bombard you with flashy advertisements, enticing clickbait links and show off their latest hauls.
They (and the companies they support) aren’t ashamed to spend money and encourage their followers to do the same. If you have morals don’t worry! These billion-dollar companies have vegan and “cruelty-free” options. Don’t worry about the cheap labor, landfill space, or environmental impact. Biodegradable fur in its 100% natural state is just too mean, but don’t worry we’ve got you covered with stretched polyester synthetic materials to satisfy your natural home décor flare to give you that sense of nature! Just don’t support those nasty, nasty greedy and selfish “factory farms” you can go on living your life in luxury and contentment.
In all seriousness, I can’t help but wonder: if people talked more about the dangers of materialism and advocated more about being a smart consumer instead of “meatless Mondays” how much more a real difference could we have seen by now?