We’re All Climate Hypocrites Now
How Embracing Our Limitations Can Unlock the Power of a Movement
Published by: New Society Publishers
Imprint: New Society Publishers
Changing your behavior matters. Transforming the system matters more.
Our culture tells us that personal responsibility is central to tackling the climate emergency, yet the choices we make are often governed by the systems in which we live. Whether it's activists facing criticism for eating meat or climate scientists catching flack for flying, accusations of hypocrisy are rampant. And they come from both inside and outside the movement.
Taking a tongue-in-cheek approach, self-confessed eco-hypocrite Sami Grover says we should do what we can in our own lives to minimize our climate impacts, but then we need to target those actions so they create systemic change. Along the way, he skewers those pointing fingers, celebrates those who are trying, and offers practical pathways to start making a difference. We're All Climate Hypocrites Now covers:
- How environmentalism lost its groove
- Why big polluters want to talk about your carbon footprint
- The psychology of shaming
- How businesses can find their activist voice
- The true power of individuals to spark widespread change.
By understanding where our greatest leverage lies, we can prioritize our actions, maximize our impact, and join forces with the millions of other imperfect individuals who are ready to do their part and actually change the system.
Acknowledgments: An Incomplete Catalog of Gushing Praise and Profuse Thanks
Preface: The Night I Went Drinking and the World Fell Apart
A Gradual Social Reckoning
Action Is Contagious Too
Getting to the Point
1. We're All Climate Hypocrites Now
What Does 'Hypocrite' Even Mean?
Rational Choice Is No Choice At All
Undermining the Messenger
A Convenient Mistruth
Eco-Moralism Runs Deep
Nothing's Ever Easy
The Limits of Personal Responsibility
Why Individual Action Still Matters
2. Wants and Needs
Voting and Shopping Are Not the Same Thing
The Irrational Consumer
Behavior Is About Design
The Roles We Play
Abstinence Is Still Individualism
Finding a Bigger Political Canvas
3. How "Green" Lost Its Groove
Dilution of a Movement
A Missed Opportunity
The Rise of Eco-Individualism
The Real Value of Lifestyle Activism
Exposing the Challenges
4. Enough Already
The Emergence of a Movement
Identifying the Culprits
The Rebels Are Angry
Who Is Holding Us Back?
The Personal Is Political (As Long As You Make It So)
A Latent Force
5. Guilt Trip
Eating Our Own
Undermining a Hero
The Power of Shaming
Shaping Cultural Norms
Preserving a Formidable Tool
The New Pariahs
Peer Pressure for the Win
Guilt Is Good?
Values Are a Moving Target
6. Big Oil Wants to Talk About Your Carbon Footprint
Some Are More Responsible Than Others
The Tobacco Playbook
They've Never Been the Good Guys
Deflating the Carbon Bubble
Can Big Oil "Go Green"?
A Missed Opportunity
Balancing on the High Wire
Coal as the Canary
A Tenacious Grip on Power
7. Corporate "Citizenship" Reimagined
"Responsible" Versus "Sustainable"
Corporate Citizenship — For Real
A Different Kind of Insurance
Beyond Corporate Responsibility
A Different Type of Shareholder Primacy?
Benefit Corporations Step Up
The Power of Corporate Activism
Beware the Benign Benefactor
Capitalists Against Unbridled Capitalism?
8. Swimming Upstream
"You Are Definitely Going to Die"
Meeting People Where They Are
Changing the Direction of the Current
Modeling What's Possible
Subsidizing the Incumbents
The Destructive as the Default
Writing a Different Story
A More Interesting Conversation
9. Focus, Goddammit
An Effective Exercise in Distraction
Attention Is a Limited Resource
First Things First
The Beginning of the End of Coal
Meat Eaters and Vegetarians Unite
The System Responds
The Cheapest Way to Fry
The Growth of Flygskam
An Inclusive Conversation?
10. What Difference Does It Make?
The Real Power of the Individual
A Reckoning on Race
It's Not About Me (Or You)
The Lure of Agency
How Change Actually Happens
What's My Duty?
Shifting Our Collective Values
11. Climate Hypocrites Unite!
A False Dawn
The Power of Imperfection
Finding Our Place
Coda: The Journey Down, Together
What Next? Resources, Organizations, and Actions
Knowledge Is Power
Rethink Your Mobility
About the Author
About New Society Publishers