His contribution, Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change is a pithy piece that demystifies the processes used to shift attention away from industrial and corporate culpability and to create instead the illusion of saving the planet by personal change. Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal "solutions"? Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption or enlightenment for organised political resistance.
Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption or enlightenment for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption — changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much — and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet?
Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide. We forget shorter showers essay writer often hear that the world is running out of water.
People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry.
The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. Kirkpatrick Sale summarized it well: So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution.
You bring cloth bags shopping.
You fix your toaster. Your toes poke out of old tennis shoes. Since municipal waste includes not just residential waste, but also waste from government offices and businesses, you march to those offices, waste reduction pamphlets in hand, and convince them to cut down on their waste enough to eliminate your share of it.
Municipal waste accounts for only 3 percent of total waste production in the United States. I want to be clear. So how, then, and especially with all the world at stake, have we come to accept these utterly insufficient responses? But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our animal humanity.
And we really lose because industrial civilization is killing the planet, which means everyone loses. Any option is a better option than a dead planet. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as harm it.
We can rehabilitate streams, we can get rid of noxious invasives, we can remove dams, we can disrupt a political system tilted toward the rich as well as an extractive economic system, we can destroy the industrial economy that is destroying the real, physical world.
The second problem — and this is another big one — is that it incorrectly assigns blame to the individual and most especially to individuals who are particularly powerless instead of to those who actually wield power in this system and to the system itself.
By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens have a much wider range of available resistance tactics, including voting, not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting, and, when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.
The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide. If every act within an industrial economy is destructive, and if we want to stop this destruction, and if we are unwilling or unable to question much less destroy the intellectual, moral, economic, and physical infrastructures that cause every act within an industrial economy to be destructive, then we can easily come to believe that we will cause the least destruction possible if we are dead.
The good news is that there are other options. We can follow the examples of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned — Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States — who did far more than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices that surrounded them.
We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems. This article, along with other landmark Orion essays about transformative action, are collected in a new anthology, Change Everything Now.
Order your copy here.Derrick’s new book, Voices of Resistance: Thought to Exist in the Wild and Other Essays, is now available. Browse audio & video of Derrick’s appearances.
Latest additions: Last Born In The Wilderness, Extinction Radio, Universal Soul Love, and weekly video appearances on Deep Green.
Forget Shorter Showers . Forget Shorter Showers? The Elephant Ecosystem Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers . Forget shorter showers by Derrick Jensen is an article that challenges the idea of simple living to be great and can be the best solution to minimize environmental degradation.
Essay Zoo Hire A+ Writer! Derrick Jensen (born December 19, ) is an American author and radical environmentalist (and prominent critic of mainstream environmentalism) living in Crescent City, California. According to Democracy Now!, Jensen "has been called the poet-philosopher of the ecological movement.".
Transcript of Forget Shorter Showers. Persuasive writing, also known as the argument essay, utilizes logic and reason to show that one idea is more legitimate than another idea.
Attempts to persuade a reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action.
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