Week 1 Reflection
Through the initial course material, the biggest question that stuck with me at the end of the week was how to motivate myself, the community, and the world to change people’s lifestyles. Although we saw through the week how people were analyzing their own lifestyle, with some actually changing like Griffith and others providing hypothetical plans like Saul, it seems like quite a dramatic alteration to the materialistic lives that we lead. Seeing the drastic measures that need to be taken in order to significantly decrease our resource consumption is daunting, and I struggle to believe enough people will change to make a significant impact.
Currently, I see that the biggest problem will be convincing and incentivizing people to evolve out of their opulent lifestyle. This got me thinking personally, about if I were a person who was not being exposed to a large amount of climate change research, what would make me feel that my impact is significant or what would give me a reason to change. Even now, I find it hard at times to really relate to the effect of climate change because it doesn't necessarily impact my daily life.
I have started to think more and more that the change needed is from the government to root people out of the heavy resource consuming lifestyles of people today. Although facts about the dangers of climate change are shocking, I don’t think this will give the drastic change that the world needs; and, because people would be very interested if they knew they would benefit from changing this lifestyle, I feel that personal financial incentives would be the best motivator.
In future weeks, I would like to think about ways the government can influence great change through taxes and tax exemptions. For example, there are already lowered taxes for EV cars and similar concepts could be applied to flying and first class. This change could sway the population drastically because it puts incentives in a more relatable medium.
Overall, I think what drew me to this question of incentives is that while I know and recognize the severity of climate change and small changes to my life are easy to do, it's the bigger changes that lack the necessary incentive. Things like traveling less, which many people crave and use as an escape, or driving less, are some of the things that I personally struggle with. Therefore, I feel monetary penalties and incentives would truly put impacts in a practical sense, and ground the climate change problem in everyday life.