I hear that, and nowhere in this piece do I say we don't need systemic change.
Instead, I'm doing a couple of things:
--Presenting a logic that personal contribution matters as *part* of the effort to mitigate climate change. Something that can and should be considered.
--Exploring what it means to feel personally culpable as a white, relatively rich person in the world who knows flying is bad, yet doing it anyway, mostly because of social factors.
But since you mention it, the distinction between “collective action” and “individual action” is nearly semantic, is it not? Individual actions add up to collective ones.
And governments are not moving nearly fast enough. Until there is some totalitarian control, like there was during the pandemic, enforcing mandatory lockdowns that had a measurable effect on the environment, we can all be doing our part.
Are you going to wait until you don’t have a choice but to get an EV in your state? Or solar panels? Do you recycle? Do we all just keep flying until the planes are either grounded or run on biofuels? Don’t we make choices everyday for the good of the environment, regardless of fines or laws, but because it's the right thing to do?
At the exponential rate climate change is worsening, we need everything we can, all hands on deck. It's that simple.