Young people are starting to oppose environmental protection. What are they opposing?

Every year on Earth Day, there is always a long line at the door of Starbucks early in the morning.

▲ Picture from: Starbucks China Weibo

Instead of queuing to buy coffee, they took the cups they brought and waited for free coffee. Starbucks hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But also for the sake of environmental protection, another thing about Starbucks and many milk tea shops is still being complained by the whole network-paper straws.

Not only paper straws, but many things related to environmental protection. At first, not too many people cared about, and not too many people practiced it. Until environmental protection began to extend its tentacles to the daily life that is closely related to everyone.

▲ Picture from: Starbucks

Food, clothes, cars, and daily necessities in environmentally friendly clothing have emerged one after another, and companies, brands, organizations, and idols clamoring for environmental protection are making a lot of noise.

Now, the term environmental protection has become no longer pure. It is beginning to be difficult to distinguish between true and false and controversial .

As a result, young people have also begun to "anti-environmental protection".

Young people began to oppose the "environmental IQ tax"

When Greenland’s summer glaciers continue to disintegrate, polar bears are looking for thin ice in the ocean, snowstorms on the Antarctic ice sheet spread, high temperatures trigger Australian wildfires, and rare animals from vulnerable to endangered to critically endangered… Environmental protection is in crisis. Downstream has become the general trend, and has gradually become a social trend .

The paper straws are the fuse for young people to criticize environmental protection.

In order to keep up with the trend of environmental protection, KFC started to stop using plastic straws in 84 branches in Singapore from June 20, 2018. McDonald’s quickly followed up in September. Starbucks began to stop using plastic straws globally by 2020. Straws are also promoted by major well-known beverage brands such as Hey Tea, Naixue, and Ruixing.

When the straw becomes paper, people first have to endure the alternative taste of using it to insert it into the lid of the cup and suck the drink, and must drink it within a limited time, otherwise the paper straw will become a strip of paper in the drink. Spreading out softly, the milk tea, pearls, and straws rotate and fuse, becoming a dream of sinking the bottom of the cup forever.

At this time, people are caught in a dilemma-should I choose environmental protection on the moral side, or the refreshment on the desire side?

However, when they learned that the paper straws were not as environmentally friendly as they had imagined, their dreams were completely shattered .

Because the quality of recycled paper must be inferior to virgin paper, paper straws can almost only be treated as general garbage and cannot be recycled. Its "disposable" and "degradable" attributes are even inferior to partially recyclable plastic products. Substituting paper for plastics will also aggravate the damage to the environment in the process of felling trees and processing and manufacturing.

Paper straws, paper cups, wooden spoons, etc. can indeed reduce plastic waste, but they are not the fundamental way to solve plastic pollution.

▲ Coca-Cola's new paper cup drink

Just like McDonald's and Starbucks use paper straws, people find that once large companies start environmental protection, the products in our hands may be "exploited . "

The cancellation of mobile phone accessories is another "environmental protection incident" that has been frequently searched.

Apple took a head on this matter. The day the iPhone 7 was released in 2016 was also the day when the 3.5mm headphone jack was cancelled. AirPods began to sell well, and many Android manufacturers, including Huawei, OPPO, and vivo, began to not be equipped with headphones.

▲ The left headphone jack is abandoned

Apple said that the cancellation of the headphone jack was for greater internal space, and the reason is acceptable until the mobile phone charger is no longer equipped.

At the Apple press conference in October last year, Apple further cancelled the charging heads , saying that everyone has too many chargers. The cancellation of the charging heads can reduce the packaging box, consume less raw materials, and reduce the transportation volume.

A meal is as fierce as a tiger, and Apple claims to be able to reduce carbon emissions by more than 2 million tons.

▲ iPhone 12 box becomes thinner

Followed by Samsung, which satirized Apple for not being equipped with a charger, also cancelled the charger in the Galaxy S21 series. Huawei and Xiaomi’s new phones also adopted the strategy of not having a charger, but gave consumers what they wanted or didn’t want. select.

Under the "round bombing" of mobile phone manufacturers, people began to question the environmental protection of brand promotion, and it may not be simple behind it.

While the charger was removed and the transportation volume was reduced, the company also reduced the manufacturing cost and transportation cost. In addition, in this "fast charging era", there is no unified fast charging agreement between mobile phone manufacturers, that is to say, consumers After we buy a new mobile phone, we still need to buy another fast charger, which brings a new fast charger business to mobile phone manufacturers.

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Looking back, the charger still needs to be produced and transported, and the cost of the charger is transferred to consumers in disguise .

In fact, the purpose of "environmental protection" is not unacceptable to consumers. It is just that when environmental protection is opposed to convenience and self-interest, people begin to hesitate to protect the environment .

This kind of hesitation, when they discovered that "environmental protection" might be just a coat, they complained more fiercely, and environmental protection became a target of public criticism .

Young people nowadays, living in a ubiquitous "search" network environment, are also pursuing information transparency. The IQ tax on environmental protection will not be paid so easily.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

When environmental protection becomes a "show" that symbolizes correctness, they see it more clearly.

Young people began to oppose "environmental performance"

In recent years, because of high energy consumption, high pollution, and high waste, foreign fast fashion brands that have suffered severe public relations crises have inevitably "washed green" themselves to regain consumers' wallets .

As long as they put on the green and organic label, they will make a lot of money, and the first-line luxury brands are also taking the environmental protection route, from setting off a boycott of fur to turning fashion people into brand ambassadors.

▲ Picture from: Burberry

But in fact, from production, to transportation, to incineration of old clothes, the massive carbon emissions along the entire chain cannot be avoided .

After Burberry signed environmental protection agreements with many fashion brands in 2018, it was reported that 250 million yuan worth of goods were burned in July. H&M even burned 60 tons of unsalable clothing at one time .

When environmental protection is no longer just environmental protection, it has become an excuse for image show and strong values, young people begin to "anti-environmental protection . "

What they are opposed to is not environmental protection itself, but people who criticize fake environmental protection and those who do things that are not environmentally friendly under the pretext of environmental protection .

The pursuit of environmental protection is not only a fashion brand, but also a change in diet that is closer to us.

▲ Sana Sana, a vegetarian brand

The famous British think tank Chatham House (Chatham House) once announced that according to the results of surveys in many countries, the large consumption of meat and dairy products is the main driving force for the problem of climate change .

The livestock industry accounts for nearly 15% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, exceeding the total emissions of all cars, trucks, airplanes, trains and ships worldwide.

Therefore, people began to vigorously promote vegetarianism, and new vegetarian consumer brands continued to emerge , especially artificial meat giant companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods , which set off a wave of plant-based meat consumption.

From celebrities, celebrities, to ordinary people, many people regard vegetarianism as their pride and regard vegetarianism as the only future of food. They advocated that all people should eat vegetarian food, and a new "show" has begun.

Yovana Mendoza , a vegetarian blogger with more than 1.3 million followers on Instagram, fully demonstrated her vegetarian life and health philosophy on the Internet, as well as the healthy, sunny, and positive life that vegetarianism brings to her. She also uses this to promote herself Vegan products and vegan courses, built its own commercial vegan territory.

▲ Yovana Mendoza

However, outside of the platform she created, someone discovered that she was eating fish in a Vlog video sent by her friend. When she discovered that there was a camera shooting, she quickly blocked it with her hand. After the video broke out, her vegetarian image collapsed instantly-it turned out that she was only "vegetarian online and meat offline."

Yovana Mendoza explained that she had to eat meat for health reasons, but netizens have lost trust in her. Later, many foreign vegetarian internet celebrities all frankly said that they can actually eat meat. Finnish internet celebrity Virpi Mikkonen has been a vegetarian for 15 years, but he also eats meat again because of physical problems.

This is not to criticize vegetarianism. There is nothing wrong with vegetarianism. Eating meat and vegetarianism is one of multiple choices. But at least we must let consumers know the facts, treat them rationally and choose vegetarianism.

▲ Yovana Mendoza explains why he eats meat

In reality, the real trend is that the consumption of meat, eggs, and milk is still increasing .

Because of the rapid development of China’s industry and economy, we are no longer in an age when we cannot afford to eat meat. The Chinese people’s protein intake has kept up. The new generation of Chinese people are still eating more and more protein and growing up. taller and taller.

The latest research of the authoritative medical journal "The Lancet" shows that from 1985 to 2019, China has become one of the fastest growing groups in the world. The average height of 19-year-old Chinese men is 175.7cm and the average height of women is 163.5cm. It is now the number one in East Asia.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

In this contradictory and antagonistic rebirth of environmental protection, many young people in China attack fake environmentally friendly brands, defend their "right to eat meat," and even defend the "right to carbon emissions."

Although meat consumption and carbon emissions are contrary to environmental protection, they believe that defending the "right to eat meat" and the "right to carbon emissions" is behind the maintenance of our right to development , which is closely related to the future of the world.

Behind environmental protection is a protracted confrontation

To zoom in, behind the "anti-environmental protection" has always been a long game between us and nature, economy, and society .

From slash and burn to the application of fossil fuels, the development of human civilization has always been based on the transformation of the natural environment.

The progress of mankind in modern times was achieved through capital expansion, colonial rule, and the most significant industrial revolution, which inevitably produced a large amount of carbon emissions. Because of the serious environmental pollution caused by industrial development, industrialized countries have also begun to attach importance to environmental protection first .

▲The first United Nations Conference on Human Environment, picture from: United Nations – Office of Legal Affairs

On June 5, 1972, the United Nations opened the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, and the famous "Declaration on the Human Environment" was published.

However, for a developing country, environmental protection is not the absolute top priority . Due to the pressure of survival, many small and medium-sized enterprises will more or less ignore environmental protection. However, after raising the waste water and waste gas emission standards, corporate profits have become negative. Most of the measures cannot be implemented at all.

Many developing countries are still working hard to practice environmental protection, but they are likely to become victims of the transfer of environmental protection responsibilities .

▲ Family workshop metallurgy in Guiyu Town, picture source: IPS News

China was once the world’s largest importer of foreign waste . Over the past 20 years, China has imported 106 million tons of foreign waste. Since 1992, China has received more than 45% of the world’s plastic waste. Guiyu Village in Shantou, China , Even known as the "world garbage dump."

Subsequently, the environment of Guiyu Town was inevitably badly damaged -garbage nowhere to be placed, burning black gas everywhere, rivers full of sewage, young children suffering from diseases…

But this matter is still difficult to solve quickly, because for the garbage exporting country, eliminating the garbage will consume resources and money, and the transportation of garbage is obviously much more cost-effective, and the area where the garbage can be collected can be used to disassemble the garbage to extract rare metals, etc. Get huge profits.

▲ Guiyu Town, picture from: Green Peace

The development of the global economy will bring layers of "exploitation." Garbage will always go to one place, and it will drift from top to bottom until it rots .

Many poverty-stricken areas in Africa are still living at low or even negative costs. There are still a lot of more realistic problems. When there is not enough food, it is harder to talk about environmental protection actions.

Economy and environmental protection are always fluctuating at both ends of the balance .

When dark rivers, bald hills, and foggy cities began to appear frequently in the news, we looked at our "sin" against nature, hoping to be redeemed by returning to and improving nature.

Behind the harsh environment, there are more and more environmentalists.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

Those who truly love and respect environmental protection practice the concept of transparent "sustainable development" .

They believe that the environment and development are not antagonistic relations. The advancement of industrialization will inevitably bring about the consequences of environmental pollution, but it is also the advancement of industrialization, which also allows us to have more capabilities and technologies for environmental governance, and nature can do Human development provides a buffer.

We should transparently demonstrate environmental protection actions through sustainable management and in-depth restoration, and call on it.

But in reality, this is indeed difficult to achieve. At the Rio United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, developed and developing countries had heated discussions about "environment and development", and there is still no good solution.

As a result, some "extreme environmentalists" also appeared among environmentalists .

▲Picture from: unsplash

They believe that under the endless demand of mankind from nature, the world will soon be destroyed, and mankind will soon come to the end. Therefore, in order to prevent this day from coming, mankind must immediately ban fuel vehicles, stop using fossil fuels, and be vegetarian.

This completely unrealistic goal has naturally been attacked by many "anti-environmentalists."

They accuse extreme environmentalists of just talking empty words, not eating meat, and doing nothing. Because if we don’t cut down trees or open up wasteland, humans will have no room for survival; shut down factories, and a large number of workers will also lose their jobs; vegetarian lovers have the right to be vegetarian, and every ordinary person has the right to eat meat; now the hot new energy vehicles, In fact, waste batteries also have a great deal of heavy metal pollution…

Movements similar to this "anti-environmental protection wave" had been popular in the United States as early as the end of the 19th century .

When the President of Cleveland established the National Forest Reserve, some states in the western United States accused it of ignoring human interests in order to protect forests. In the early 1990s, an anti-environmental organization called the "wise use" movement, under the banner of protecting private property rights, emerged. The number of participants reached 4 million. They were all opposing environmental laws and regulations and pursuing their own rights and interests.

▲ Picture from: Joel Sartore

However, it is worth being cautious that our consciousness is always easy to go from one extreme to the other .

In fact, the reality of environmental protection is often very complicated and difficult to delineate clearly .

Environmental protection does not need to be extreme, it is a diverse proposition

In order to protect the current environment, it is not feasible to completely abandon the development of technology .

Human creativity is actually the "ultimate resource." No one knows which day new energy and new technology will turn society upside down, so that the current environmental issues will not be a problem.

For economic development, it is not feasible to completely ignore the environment .

After all, many environmental problems have not yet destroyed the earth, but they are already enough to destroy many people.

▲Picture from: unsplash

"The Father of Technological Thrillers" Michael Crichton said:

The most important thing facing mankind is to distinguish reality from imagination, and to distinguish truth from public opinion. This is particularly urgent and important in our information age.

In the present moment, any kind of extreme emotion cannot solve the problem.

The world is in constant change to achieve balance, and it is impossible to maintain or reach an optimal state .

We often overlook the fact that the definition of environmental protection itself is the general term for various actions taken to solve actual or potential environmental problems, coordinate the relationship between mankind and the environment, and ensure sustainable economic and social development.

Therefore, environmental protection does not require returning to the ancestors, abandoning industry and returning to the original natural life; nor is it completely free to develop, and arbitrary discharge and transformation after the economy rises-but the friendly coexistence of man and nature .

Environmental protection is not for the earth, but for mankind.

Human beings are just a small part of the earth’s 4.5 billion years of long history, but for us, the earth is everything for survival, and we must maintain our own living environment.

▲ Picture from:

The only contradiction is that for the sustainability of this living environment, we sometimes have to make some compromises and sacrifices .

It may be a loss of consumer experience, and it may be necessary to give up some convenience in life. Many small environmental protection measures that we have known since childhood, in fact, it is very difficult to stick to it——

For example, turn off the lights at will, save water, be proud of waste, reduce air conditioning, take more buses, reduce exhaust gas, use cloth bags, bring your own lunch boxes, plant trees and protect forests, garbage sorting, office paperless, choose green packaging, and use fluorine-free Products, choose non-phosphorus washing powder…

These efforts are still important. They seem small, but they add up to a big deal.

Everyone knows the benefits of environmental protection, but no one wants to pay for environmental problems.

In 1968, Professor Garrett Harding in the United Kingdom also proposed a famous theoretical model: the tragedy of the commons .

It means that in front of public resources, everyone has the right to use, and everyone will tend to overuse and expand production to maximize individual benefits, which will eventually lead to resource exhaustion and destruction.

This is also a major cause of resource depletion, ecological deterioration, and environmental pollution.

It is not easy to stop this "tragedy". It requires institutional management, moral restraint, appeals from the masses, and personal restraint .

From every aspect, environmental protection is not a simple problem, and confrontation in all aspects is enough to make environmental protection difficult.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

Regarding how to move forward in environmental protection, Czech President Vaclav Klaus mentioned the following points in his "Environmental Violence":

  • Let us not organize people’s lives from the top down, let us tolerate everyone’s lifestyle.
  • Let us not succumb to fashion trends.
  • We must not tolerate the politicization of science, and do not accept the illusion of "scientific consensus", which is just a consensus reached by a loud minority, not a silent majority.
  • Let us be sensitive and concerned about nature and ask the most high-profile environmentalists to do this.
  • Let us maintain a humble attitude towards the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us believe in its implicit rationality. Don't try to delay it or change its direction.
  • Let us not be intimidated by catastrophic predictions, nor should we abuse such predictions to justify unreasonable interventions in human life.

These points allow us to look at environmental protection from multiple angles, as well as the things and people around "environmental protection".

Environmental protection is a complex issue and an open proposition .

It is important to be skeptical in the face of things that seem right. In the face of seemingly crazy things, it is important to keep a clear understanding.

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