This Is Who Is Really Destroying The Planet

Who is really destroying the planetWho is really destroying the planet? Fast fashionistas? Frequent travellers? Here, we call out those we think are the most culpable. And it might not be who you’d think

By Chere Di Boscio

We have been told now for decades that the planet is being destroyed by us.

By me.

By you.

Because we buy too much stuff. We use too much energy. We have too many kids.

As a result, we are expected to repent, in various ways.

For example, we should:

  • Pay (more) carbon taxes
  • Live in restricted ’15 minute cities’
  • Stop travelling abroad

And other measures, of course. In order to ‘save the planet’. Hmm…really?

It should go without saying that carbon taxes hurt the poorest people. That 15 minute cities are pretty much open air prisons. And that travelling abroad is not only life-enriching, but necessary for those with loved ones around the world.

Sure, each one of us has a negative impact on the environment. But here’s the thing.

Whatever we – even billions of us – do pales beside the impact of corporations and governmentsAnd these are the same entities demanding restrictions on our freedoms, and who will pocket the money we surrender to their carbon taxes.

But who is really destroying the planet? I’d argue it’s not you, it’s them. Here’s why.

The Impact Of Corporations & Governments

Governments and corporations destroy the planet in much more serious and much more damaging ways than we do.

Just to list but a few of their most heinous actions, they have:

  • Started wars pretty much continuously for a century
  • In some of those wars, they’ve dropped depleted uranium, which contaminates the Earth for generations.
  • Dropped and tested atomic bombs
  • Neglected to care for nuclear power plants, which have then caused meltdowns, with long-lasting impacts
  • Created unnecessary, multi-billion dollar projects like CERN, whose ecological footprint is simply monumental
  • Deliberately destroyed gas pipelines as a tactic of war, creating environmental disasters
  • Tested and launched many rockets and countless satellites. The result? Acid rain, ozone depletion, the death of wildlife, vegetation, pollution of soil and water, and more
  • Permitted the use of deadly chemicals on our food. These not only cause cancer in humans, but also destroy bees, birds and beneficial insects
  • Replaced refillable, recyclable glass bottles with plastic. Replaced paper bags to plastic. Started needlessly covering fresh food with plastic. And the consequences have been disastrous.

Who is really destroying the planet? Well, it seems the list of environmental crimes committed by governments and corporations is practically endless. Yet their main complaint about the general population – you and me – is about our over consumption.

But here’s the thing: we wouldn’t even consume so much if it weren’t for them!

Here’s why.

A Real Life Conspiracy

Want to hear about an actual, provable conspiracy?

It’s called the Phoebus cartel. Here’s what happened.

On January 15, 1925 in Geneva, makers of  incandescent light bulbs in the USA and Europe sat down and decided that an average of 2,500 working hours was just too long for the average bulb. These great working bulbs just weren’t generating enough profits. So, in order to sell more, they agreed to deliberately shorten the life of their bulbs to 1000 hours or under.

Governments knew about it, and did nothing to stop it.

In fact, in 1951, the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission in the United Kingdom issued a report to Parliament and noted that:

“…the representatives of both B.S.I, and B.E.A., as well as most lamp manufacturers, have told us in evidence that they regard 1,000 hours as the best compromise possible at the present time, nor has an evidence been offered to us to the contrary.”

As you probably know, this is called planned obsolescence. A.K.A. making cheap, crappy stuff on purpose, so that it breaks sooner than consumers expect. And then we have to then buy something new to replace it with.

That’s not ok. And to prove just how not ok that is, check out the Centennial Light in Livermore, USA. It’s a 100 year old lightbulb that still works!

In other words – all light bulbs – and heaven knows what other items – have the potential to last a full century.

This Is Who Is Really Destroying The Planet

How Planned Obsolescence Is Killing The Planet

If you think planned obsolescence stopped with light bulbs, think again. It’s built into virtually every single product in the world right now.

Take phones, for example.

It used to be that one phone was sufficient for a household. Public phones were available for those on the go. Then, we were told that each person needed their own phone. Which is bad enough.

But your phone is not meant to last for more than a few years. No matter how well you take care of it, you will be forced to make updates on your phone. Needless updates. And eventually, your phone will no longer be able to support them, and it will be rendered useless.

I personally tried to hang on to my iPhone4 as long as possible. But at some point, it wouldn’t support updates, and all its apps became useless. It essentially became a ‘dumb’ phone, that could only make and receive calls. No Whatsapp, no Gmail, no Facebook, nothing. So I was forced to buy a new one.

Of course, my phone service provider kept pressuring me to upgrade ‘for free’ anyway, but I didn’t see the point. I thought it was just wasteful. But the worst part? Once I ‘upgraded’, I couldn’t use the charger for my old one. Greedy old Apple decided it would be a great idea to change the size and type of charger so I’d be forced to trash my perfectly working previous one and once again, buy something new that I didn’t even want.

I had no choice.

We Have No Choice

And speaking of having no choice, that extends to several areas of consumption.

For example? Once, you could choose between glass or plastic bottles for drinks. No more. Once, all fruit and veg came naked and raw. No more. Not long ago, bags were paper or nothing. No more. Even toys used to be made mainly of rubber, cloth or wood. Today? All plastic.

We are forced to buy plastic, whether we want to or not. So, who is really destroying the planet – the consumer buying plastic, or the corporations selling it?

And if you prefer to fix things rather than buy new, again, you’re often faced with no choice. Specifically, with regards to appliances and tech. Companies don’t always provide a user’s manual or guarantee to help you get broken stuff fixed. If you find someone who knows how to do repairs, it’s often so expensive, you might as well buy something new. Or, you may not be able to find the parts for an older model, which has become ‘obsolete’.

The reality of ‘serialisation’ has also recently arisen. This is a kind of tech code that means when a product breaks, you can only replace missing parts with those that match the serial number of the product. So, smartphones won’t work with generic parts, or even parts from other models from the same brand that don’t match the serial number. Why? Because, profits.

In fact, this situation has become so critical for those who simply want to fix their existing phones, vacuums, computers, fridges, washing machines and so on, there is now a ‘right-to-repair’ movement that’s ever-growing.

In a handful of US states, lawmakers have signed right-to-repair laws pressing companies to improve the repairability of their products. New York passed a right-to-repair law last year, but it went into effect with amendments that introduced corporate friendly loopholes. Luckily, other states, including Minnesota and Colorado, have been more successful in passing right-to-repair laws of their own.

Brainwashing The Masses Into Consumption

As I mentioned, when it comes to assigning blame for planetary destruction, governments and corporations love pointing their greedy fingers in our direction. But if it weren’t for them, our consumer behaviour would be very different.

After the Great Depression, governments were desperate to stimulate consumption. Marketing experts like Bernard London and Edward Bernays were hired to help get people to buy more, more, more. Both were highly successful.

London wrote three essays in which he argued strongly in favour of policies that facilitated planned obsolescence. Bernays, considered  as “the father of public relations”, is best known for getting us to eat big breakfasts (he was paid by the egg and pork lobbyists to push bacon and eggs). He also got more women to smoke by branding cigarettes as feminist “Torches of Freedom“. He was hired by dozens of major American corporations including Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and by government agencies, too.

In his 1960 book ‘The Waste Makers’, Vance Packard outlines how the likes of Bernays, London and other ‘Mad Men’ working on Madison Avenue (once the centre of the advertising world) strove to persuade us to over-consume.

This was done several ways, including:

  • The introduction of disposable products, such as razors, cutlery and toothbrushes
  • Planned obsolescence, mentioned above
  • The manipulation of emotions to make a product obsolete. In other words, fashion.

This latter point doesn’t refer solely to clothing. Consumers were – and are – manipulated by advertising (most commonly in the form of ‘influencers’ today) into believing that their current car, clothing, furnishings, tech and appliances can be outdated. And if they’re outdated, that reflects on you as a person. You’re not cool. You’re out of touch with the times. Backward.

It sounds basic, but all of us are subject to such consumer pressure. Especially when we’re younger and more prone to feeling the need to ‘fit in’.

So, who is really destroying the planet? The consumer, or the corporation manipulating her?

This Is Who Is Really Destroying The Planet

The ‘Green’ Movement Is Anything But

Governments and corporations have an ace up their sleeve when it comes to manipulating consumption. And that ace is legislative changes. Yet another means to force us to buy new stuff.

An excellent example is the mask mandates during the Covid era. Tens of billions of these cheap, plastic, and let’s face it – useless – items were sold. Even if we didn’t want to buy them, we had to, if we wanted to get into shops and and other public places. And almost all ended up in landfill or in the ocean.

Now, unfortunately, there’s much legislation manipulating our purchases in the name of being ‘greener’.

One good case study came after the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. At that time, European governments encouraged drivers to purchase diesel cars over petrol based ones. Some countries fined drivers of petrol cars, and subsidised drivers of diesel cars. Why? Because apparently diesel emitted way less CO2 than gasoline.

But then the World Heath Organisation published a report in 2012 saying that diesel fumes are more likely to cause cancer and asthma, thanks to their higher levels of nitrogen oxides and particulates. Oops.

So all those people who ditched gas fuelled cars for diesel did it for nothing. And the environmental impact of making new, allegedly ‘greener’ diesel cars did far more damage to the planet than the gas from the conventional cars in the first place.

No Lessons Learned

It seems we have learned nothing from that experience.

Similarly, there is now European legislation that is forcing consumers to replace everything from gas heaters and ovens to fossil fuel based cars. All in the name of ‘saving the planet’. But guess what? The replacement of our current heaters, ovens and cars, not to mention the brand new infrastructure to power up electrical cars, will be far greater than the alleged damage to the environment these ‘old’ things currently do.

Rest assured that governments and corporations know this. But they will try to force not-so-green solar panels, wind farms, heat pumps and electric cars on us anyway. Not because they care about the environment, and not because these new technologies are better for the planet, but because they stand to gain billions from the switch to so-called ‘green’ technologies.


So, who is really destroying the planet? We, the consumer, or they, the governments and corporations?

By now, it should be pretty clear.

Most of us would love to save money and the planet by buying one fridge, one phone, or one car that could last a lifetime. But companies won’t allow for that.

We would also love to buy fruit and veg in its natural state, without plastic. It would be great to buy clothes that could look chic for a decade. And wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily get your tech products fixed at the shop around the corner?

Sure, we consumers make an impact with our purchases. But the choice we have is severely restricted by the companies who offer us goods, and the governments who let them get away with selling faulty and disposable items. And compared to the ecological destruction wreaked by war and space tech alone…well, don’t even get me started.

Because I have a conscience, I do my part. I’m vegan, grow most of my own food, and live partly off grid. I rarely buy anything new, and I don’t even know how to drive yet.

But the day I move into a 15 minute city, or willingly pay a carbon tax to the biggest polluters on the planet, is the day governments and corporations change their ways and go truly green.

In other words, never.

What do you think? Who is really destroying the planet? Let us know in the comments, below!

Chere Di Boscio
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