Why Don’t Some Companies Care About Climate Change?
BY: HALKER WEISSENBORN
Unless you have a six-figure salary, chances are a trip to the Apple store will come with a rush of anxiety. When we hand over our credit cards to buy the latest “it” product, we tell ourselves over and over again, “it’s okay.” And now we can tell ourselves, “I’m just helping out an American business that helps the environment” because Apple is an American company that has recently made strides to go greener. The fact that the tech company is environmentally conscious is important to people, especially now that Trump’s pledge to back out of the Paris Agreement.
The general consumer isn’t just looking for a great, trendy product anymore. Now they’re looking for brands that are socially aware too, because, believe it or not, all companies don’t stand by environmental protections. Some businesses are arguing their claims against climate change by asking, “How would they ever be able to compete with the cheap price of foreign goods if they have to also be conscious of the environment?” Also, it doesn’t necessarily affect some companies if America burdens their manufacturing industries with pesky concerns for the silly planet if they have all their components imported. But if those environmental restraints are lifted and just as cheap alternatives can be made in America, then swell! Less to pay for shipping across oceans. That allows the rich to kick back on their pompous yacht and relish their grey poupon.
Exxon Mobile and Koch, for instance, are trying to disprove science in hopes of earning a few dollars. In order to truly understand the issue with global warming deniers, we must first establish what is happening to our home planet: Though there are several different factors that affect climate change, the main gas we tend to study is carbon dioxide (CO2), which is responsible for 65% of globally emitted-greenhouse gas. These gasses can rapidly raise earth’s temperature through the Greenhouse Effect, which is shockingly similar to those opaque sheds we humans tend to build for plants. Just like your hippy peer back in college used to preach, the added gas in the atmosphere traps extra sunlight in, raises the temperature of the globe, and decimates our planet’s ecosystems. And we’re not just talking about the US. Like Trump, we’re also talking about China here too. China emits more CO2 than the USA, Russia, and the entire EU combined. Though harrowing at first glance, China also has 1.371 billion people, which is a casual about 170 million (or a nonchalant half-America) more than the combined numbers of USA / Russia / EU. The adjusted stat we should be responsible for is our emissions per capita in tonnes of CO2 per year. If you’re an American, you’re worth 16.1 yearly tonnes of pollution compared to a Chinese citizen’s 7.7. That, frankly, is embarrassing, especially considering China’s move to decrease the notorious smog mucking up their cities.
Thankfully, the ones who are ignoring the planet’s problems are in the minority. Nestle, the biggest food producer in the world, claimed, “Our company’s success ultimately depends on our ability to reliably source high-quality crops and other raw materials.” They’re not alone – American household names like General Mills, GE, even your mom’s favorite place to shop for your clothes, GAP, have joined together in a coalition against climate change.
In the tech world, there’s even more hope. Elon Musk, the famous supervillain spearheading several different cutting-edge tech companies, famously resigned from Trump’s environmental council following the US left the Paris Agreement. In fact, some tech companies are actively trying to create devices that can help save the environment, such as Musk’s own Solar City and their revolutionary solar panels, OAT’s biodegradable shoes, or even Bergey WindPower’s personal wind turbine. As we have become more aware of the damage they’re responsible for (remember that 16.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide Americans are worth?), these companies allow individuals to reduce their personal carbon footprints. Some have actually done well after the US left the Paris Agreement.
In short, our planet has seen better days. Regardless of a few naysayers, there has been a reassuring showing of concern from key big companies, notably after the Paris exit. Tech companies are fighting tooth and nail to develop equipment that can help individuals do better for the earth. So while we may have our own personal quarrels for paying beyond our means for an Apple product, perhaps our act of supporting green companies is at the very least a noble sacrifice for the environment.