Recently I've got the occasion to talk with two guys about the problems of sustainability, the distortions provoked by the no rule and no limit economy, renewable energies and the dead-end of the development model based on fossil fuels, the increasing inequality among social components and States at international level, etc.
At the end, we all agree on these issues, but the discussion always is blocked on the same knot: we cannot do anything to change this, we have no power, we don't matter!
Surely it is rather true that we don't matter above all within a society based on nepotism, corruption, feudal links and pyramid structure like the italian one nowadays. Yet, how clearly described by H. Arendt in "A report on the Banality of Evil" or more recently Z. Bauman in "Consuming Life" (I warmly suggest the reading of both books), often complex conditions of social and collective perversions are caused by a long chain of individual behaviours which, when isolated, are insignificant and not-relevant but when inserted within this chain may generate devastating effects.
These effects are made even more devastating because characterized by collective irresponsibility caused by a dispersion of personal reponsibility and committment; the consequences of our behaviours are thus perceived as distant in physical, spatial, temporal and psychological terms.
Therefore, we have the impression to be entrapped on a train running at a foolish speed, without a driver, on a dead track and all the passengers are perfectly aware of this: they know that the train will crash at the end but they feel to have no power to stop it. If all this depends also on this long chain of individual behaviours (considering that politicians are doing nothing to deal with these issue for the huge economic interests involved), we all must do something to change our (I repeat our) behaviours.
A virtuous and positive example of "I can do something" is to stop the use of plastic bags we use when shopping. These bags have a dramatic environmental impact and we use them everyday: we can immediately renunce to use them without any problem making in the same time something great and useful for the environment.
The first internation plastic-bag free day will be held on next september the 12th. This is a good occasion to make our voices heard and to provide a positive answer to the question: what can I do?
Some useful links
Terranauta (in italian)
Plastic bag free day
Green (living) Review
Marine Conservation Society