You did not do anything to stop this. Do not deny it. When the last rhino was shot you did not blink an eye, you were too busy watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. You just do not care; all you care about is the leftover pizza in your fridge. You might watch a documentary about polar bears tonight, but the documentary is in only 8K so you are wondering if you will be even able to see any polar bears. But what would you expect from a 30 year old documentary. Was it your responsibility to save the polar bears? Of course not, what could you have done to save them? Nothing... Right? You could have turned down the heater, but then you would have been cold, poor you…
This exposes one of the problems in the field of responsible innovation, not many people feel responsible for their collective responsibilities. If we could find an innovative way to make individuals feel individual responsible for their collective responsibilities much more people would take action. Imagine that everybody would instantly connect their actions to the collective consequences. This means that if you shower for twice as long as necessary you would feel more responsible for the negative consequences this has on the environment. I think that if everybody feels more responsible for these things many more people would accept harsh measures to save the environment and would even do more than they are expected to do.
It is time to take action to solve this “tragedy of the commons”, because so far all we have done is point our fingers at each other. This pointing our fingers should become the shaking of our hands as a sign of collective cooperation to solve the grand challenges of our society together. We can do so much more together than we can do individually, but most of the things we will have to change are our individual behavior and routine. If we work together and decide to all stop using the car when we could also take the train we would decrease CO2 pollution significantly. Many students are using the train every week in the Netherlands and if we keep doing this collectively, even when we get older, we would set the right example for others.
We are backwards responsible for climate change, because we did not take action in 1938 when Guy Callendar first found indications that the rise of the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere caused the rise of temperature on Earth. When more and more scientist found proof that CO2 was causing global warming we still did nothing. We could have done things much earlier and now we need to take our responsibility and save our planet and take our forward responsibility and make sure future generations can enjoy the joy of living on Earth as well. But to make sure that we take action we need more harsh regulations and therefore we need a bigger sense of responsibility for the environment.