Some places, including Canada, have started making laws banning single-use plastics. There are also many laws for phasing out gas-powered cars and introducing electric vehicles. One of the arguments I’ve heard against this is that “China outputs so much CO2” that we should focus on big emitters like China, massive coal plants, and other huge CO2 sources to curb climate change.

And indeed, China is a huge emitter of CO2. In 2017, they emitted almost 30% of the world’s CO2. However, that does not mean we shouldn’t try and reduce our own output of CO2 and other pollutants.

The two options are not mutually exclusive. And more importantly, there’s a good reason to ban plastic straws, reduce our own polluting, however small it may be compared to all those huge coal plants: that is, we need to start cultivating respect for the environment.

People who say their own polluting is insignificant and therefore they can use all the single-use plastic they want are contributing more than just pollution to the environment. They are also reinforcing the philosophy of disrespect for the environment. They are saying that they don’t care and they just want their cushy lifestyle with all the convenience of polluting as much as they want, and to hell with the planet.

That’s why we need to cultivate a serious attitude of respect towards the planet, by reducing the consumption of individuals everywhere, starting with the education of children. If the majority of the population eventually comes around to respecting the environment more, then the vast majority of people will vote for people who care and then finally, those people can make more of a difference in putting pressure on world powers to reduce mass pollution.

Of course, we also need to focus on industrial pollution now. But it is crucial to cultivate respect for the planet by eliminating all activities that demonstrate disrespect for the planet. And that includes banning single-use plastics, plastic straws, gasoline-powered vehicles, and extreme commercialism.

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