We probably can’t buy our way out of it
That’s what we usually try to do. When technology, comfort, convenience, efficiency and price line up, the market takes care of itself.
On the other hand, seatbelts would never have happened if they weren’t required.
But pizza grew to dominate our diets with no centralized action.
They sell a lot of Tide laundry detergent. Billions of dollars a year, that’s enough pods to reach the moon and back.
Even though Tide usually comes in a big plastic container and weighs many pounds, we keep buying it. That’s because it’s convenient, easy to find and not particularly expensive.
One of the challenges of changing a culture that’s driven by consumption is that people voluntarily choose what to buy next.
And so we get stuck. Stuck with products and systems that we’re not happy with, simply because it’s easier to stick with what we already have. The status quo is the status quo because it’s good at sticking around.
And yet, sometimes we get lucky. Consider this simple product for washing your clothes.
It’s super convenient, even more so than Tide. It’s almost as cheap. It’s dramatically more sustainable. It has a jillion 5-star reviews. And yet, it has a tiny fraction of Tide’s market share (so far).
We can’t buy out way out of the climate crisis, we’ll need to compromise, to invest and to rethink the systems that we depend on.
But every once in a while, you can simply change what you buy, and even better, tell someone else when it works.