Do you think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler? Or that composting would have ended slavery? Then why do you think that these entirely personal “solutions” could bring about changes on a global level?
Philosopher, writer and activist Derrick Jensen holds radically anti-civilisation opinions. Civilisation as the final form of culture is genetically programmed for destruction and the term “sustainable civilisation” is a contradiction in terms. The film rendering of Jensen’s essay of the same name “Forget Shorter Showers” observes with an ironic eye how the representatives of the system try to fool people as to what is the cause of the environmental crisis.
They say that if we want to save the planet, we need to change. Every one of us. We should consume less, drive less, produce less waste. By pointing to personal responsibility however, the capitalist industrial system tries to hide the fact that what really needs to be done is change the society. Even if every USA citizen stopped driving a car and lowered their ecological footprint, it seems that the CO2 emissions would fall only by 22%. In fact, their main source is industry. Even if we stopped taking showers, it would have a negligible effect, since 90% of water is consumed by the agricultural industry. Households are responsible for only 3% of total waste – the rest is industrial waste.
This does not imply we should not try to live modestly. We should only stop pretending that a simple life represents a meaningful political act. According to the author we can choose from among three courses of action. Contributing to the creation of the industrial complex leads to the same loss as taking the path of personal purity – in both cases we are left with a dead planet.
What is the third solution? Of course it needs to be radical…