The New York Times has dubbed its April 20 Magazine edition as "The Green Issue". The subtitle? "Some Bold Steps to Make Your Carbon Footprint Smaller".
I've barely taken a look at the issue as a whole, but I have noticed that Michael Pollan, in a piece entitled Why Bother?, has attacked straight on the fundamental issue of why individual consumers - faced with a global issue on which their individual efforts are a drop in the bucket - ought to consider behaving in ways that reflect their personal concerns, even if it means some personal costs and lifestyle changes, instead of just throwing up their hands and waiting for government to take action.
While some might disagree with Pollan's views on the seriousness of climate change or the role of industrial man in it, Austrians and libertarians ought to find much to agree with (if not embrace) in his argument for personal choice and the role such choices can play in the margin in effectuating broader cultural, social and technological changes. After all, if one values the atmosphere and one's climate, and thinks that human activities (release of GHGs and soot, and agricultural and forestry practices) are a factor, then what better way to drive the market and further changes than by acting as if the atmosphere and climate are valuable?
Such voluntary action is precisely what Lockean principles call us to.
Pollan is the author of rather well-received “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”.