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Individualization: plant a tree, buy a bike, save the world Essay

The article of Michael Maniates entitled Individualization: Plant a tree, buy a bike, save the world substantially helps in enlightening me when it comes to the important factors that must given due attention and importance when talking about environmental degradation. Maniates discuss the famous story of The Lorax, which talks about the cause of environmental degradation and the way of it should be addressed through individual responsibility.

However, the discussion of Maniates points out the shortcomings of the idea of individual responsibility wherein collective action is necessary in order to properly address the existing environmental problems. Before reading this article, I always thought by means of doing my own little way of recycling I am already substantially contributing in saving the environment.

I also patronized product that they refer to as “environment-friendly” wherein I will choose to buy paper cups instead of its plastic counterparts. In addition, I will also patronize products that advocates saving the environment. Nevertheless, I realize that over consumption is one of the primary causes of environmental degradation and even though I am buying environment-friendly products, I do not see any substantive changes in the betterment of the society.

I am feeling the effects of climate change more than ever, which makes me think whether this concept of individual responsibility is actually working. Upon reading the article of Maniates, especially the part wherein he points out that individual responsibility is not enough because it does not tackle the other factors that greatly contribute to environmental problems such as: power, privilege, and unjust distribution of resources.

Most institutions have a narrow approach to solving environmental dilemmas that do not take into account the factors of power and politics in saving the environment, which eventually affect the thinking of people when it comes to doing their part when it comes to this problem. In line with this, I learn that in order to properly address environmental problems collective action is necessary wherein people should work together in order to change the framework of institutions like the government, environmental organizations and others when it comes to the idea of addressing environmental problems.


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