Most people will say that they
feel powerless in the face of global warming and that the actions of one single
person will have little effect. However, as discussed in this book, this is not
the case. There is always time for important action as any decrease in entropy
will also decrease the scale of its impacts. Our collective challenge is to
dramatically decrease our consumption of energy.  In an ideal world, if we weren’t subsidising
the markets by passing off the entropic costs of their production to future
generations, the price of locally produced environmentally sustainable goods
would be less than that of cheaply produced, imported, unsustainable goods.
However, this ideal would require institutional and governmental policy
changes. Before this happens, consumers must vote with their money and choose,
often the more expensive, sustainable goods over the cheaper alternatives.
Without waiting for government legislation, even individual changes, such as
buying organic food locally to cut down on losses relating to transportation,
packaging, and synthetic fertilizers, can make huge impacts. The recent
‘millennial’ movement toward vegetarianism and veganism seems to be one way
that consumers are beginning to change their habits – between 2001 and 2011,
meat consumption per head in Ireland fell from 93kg a year to 77.5kg according
to the Central Statistics Office. A global switch to diets that rely less on
meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050,
reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to healthcare-related
savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion (US), Oxford Martin School
researchers have found in a recent study. This is a change that I made two
years ago when I became vegetarian, and I am optimistic it is a lifestyle that
will continue gaining traction.