If we knew how to stop environmental pollution, we’d be a happier culture today. But it’s harder to know how to stop environmental pollution than it might seem. The environment, as environmentalists continue to assure is, is something that affects all us, yet that all us affect. We may stop using CFC products, yes, and we may recycle individually, and we may do any number of positive things to make a difference in our world. But will giant chemical companies like DuPont and ConAgra do the same?
As hopeless as the project seems, there’s still no excuse for giving up all hope. There are ways to stop environmental pollution on a small scale by working with larger companies on discovering how to stop environmental pollution as well.
Take the movie “The Corporation”, a documentary created to explain the modern corporation in terms of a psychological model of personality. In an early sequence, protestors arrive on the doorstep of the CEO of Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies. It seems like the sequence will end in the kind of textbook futility environmental activists have become used to over the years: the CEO shouts at everyone, claims they’re crazy, throws them out or has them removed. Instead, the CEO and his wife invite the protestors to lunch.
Over the course of the lunch, they talk about the issues facing the earth, including the pressing question of how to stop environmental pollution. And they find something surprising. Despite the disparity in the two groups’ status, the protesters being young and as a rule struggling, the CEO being, well, a CEO, they find that they have the same concerns. They’re both extremely worried about the fate of the earth. They both believe that something needs to be done about environmental pollution.
Yet neither of them knows how to stop environmental pollution, despite that the former group is dedicated to stopping it, and that the CEO is at the head of a company that could be said to be causing it.
The movie goes on to explore the paradox. But what the movie takes as a starting point, we can take as our goal. The correct route to stopping environmental pollution isn’t to work unilaterally as either a protestor or a corporation to effect change. How to stop environmental pollution for good? Attempt to coordinate efforts with the people who do have the power, the CEOs of the chemical companies, to find small ways to make a difference. You might set up a charity operation for environmental cleanup efforts into which some money could be funneled, or put together facts and figures about sustainable industry and make a proposal to work with your CEO neighbors on means to carry out sustainable projects.
There’s no reason to go it alone. The environment affects us all, and the question of how to stop environmental pollution affects us all as well. Let’s hope that we can all realize it in enough time.