Although protestors are the most visible face of modern environmentalism, every member of society wields influence through the consumer choices they make. Collectively, consumers are powerful. The public can vote with their wallets by, for example, choosing organic vegetables or taking the bus instead of the car. Their actions will impact upon the companies that supply those commodities and the governments in charge of environmental strategy.
But consumer choices are not always easy to make. ‘Green’ alternatives are often more expensive than their unsustainable counterparts, while it is often hard to define which product or technology is more environmentally friendly than another.
This complexity can be very clearly seen in the case of energy.
The vast majority of the energy we consume is provided by fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and nuclear power. However, this approach is increasingly unsustainable.
Reserves of fossil fuels are being exhausted and global