When it comes to the environment, “if seven billion people did the right thing, it still wouldn’t matter,” says Gernot Wagner, an economist at the Environmental Defense Fund and author of But Will the Planet Notice?. The solution, Wagner explains to genConnect, is better policies. Watch:
Wagner tries to reduce his carbon footprint as much as possible; he’s a vegetarian and doesn’t have a driver’s license. However, “the problem is, none of that matters,” he told genConnect. ”Getting more people to recycle, getting more people to bike, getting these people to do all these other things, if anything, may actually be counterproductive.”
So what does matter? Talking to the people who have the ability to change policies and push for large-scale environmental change will make the difference, Wagner said.
“Here’s what does make a difference: at the end of the day it’s policy change,” Wagner said. “If you and I bike down Fifth Avenue, it makes very little difference. Now, Mayor Bloomberg put in 300 miles of bike paths in the last five years. That’s impactful.”
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