A common argument against going green (prevalent also in the comments section of this blog) is that the little steps we take to improve the environment—eating less meat, biking to work, and cutting out plastic bags and bottles—don't do any good, because corporations will continue to pollute, negating our efforts.
Nice try, but McKinsey & Co. has just debunked it. In a study on consumers and carbon emissions, McKinsey researchers found that 37 percent of emissions were under direct consumer control and caused by things like cars (which made up 17 percent of all emissions) and residential heating and appliances. Things that fall under indirect consumer control, like shipping miles for food and other goods, or landfill emissions, constituted 28 percent of carbon emissions. Finally, 35 percent came from industry, agricultural emissions, and other sources beyond our control. This means that two thirds of all emissions are directly or indirectly within our grasp.
It's a morale booster for any uncertain environmentalists, that's for sure. It's also good news for our uncertain economic times, as many of the little steps to go green also help you save money. So, recycle, bike to work, make your home energy-smart, eat less meat, try to buy local foods, use reusable bags—the list goes on, and each item on it counts.