Part of the difficulty of changing people's behavior to be green, taking more sustainable actions is they have the Rights to do what they are doing. It is not illegal. For the US, The Bill of Rights is a foundation of American thinking.
There is nothing in the Bill of Rights that says you cannot be an energy hog, wasting the Earth's resources, polluting the water for downstream users.
The Clean Water Act may be one of the most influential laws changing your Rights, making it illegal to pollute the waters.
Newsweek had an article explaining what is saving the planet is not our individual actions, but regulation and legislation. The article starts poking fun that people are shopping to show they are green.
On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Let’s ... Go Shopping!
Buying green and changing personal behavior won't save the planet.
On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, NEWSWEEK looks at how far we've come, and how far we have yet to go, in protecting the planet.
By Sharon Begley | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 21, 2010
With apologies to a cliché that predates the advent of Earth Day by a year, it is easy being green. Too easy. From adorable reusable shopping bags and organic clothing to hemp shower curtains (no nasty petroleum-based vinyl liner!) and "natural is now fun!" beauty products for girls, the proliferation of green products makes doing our bit for the planet a blast, since Americans can combine environmentalism with their favorite sport, shopping. Indeed, a Gallup poll released this month finds that large majorities of Americans are shopping for the good of the planet: 76 percent said they'd bought a product specifically because they thought it was better for the environment.
Then makes the point the biggest environmental change is not from individuals, but groups.
As my colleague Ian Yarett documents in his progress report on the environment, every example of major environmental progress—reducing acid rain, improving air quality, restoring the ozone layer—has been the result of national legislation or a global treaty. We reduced acid rain by restricting industry's sulfur emissions, not by all going out and sprinkling bicarb on sensitive forests and lakes. Leaded gasoline was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1996, not by everyone choosing to buy cars that run on unleaded. Ozone-chomping CFCs were banned by the 1987 Montreal Protocol, not by everyone deciding to forgo spray cans and air conditioning.
The gases had to be banned, people. All environmental progress has come through national- and international-level regulation—to be blunt, by forcing people and industry to stop doing environmentally bad things and start doing environmentally good things, not by relying on individuals' green good will or even the power of the marketplace.
What would happen if environmental law was part of the Bill of Rights? The Earth has rights that are equal or greater than individual rights. Right now the Earth does not get paid for use of its resources.
Is it Right, if you have the Rights?