The popular Al Gore documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth (2006), originally devised as a slide presentation, may have raised awareness of its viewers but it is more difficult to prove it has actually changed behavior, especially on any meaningful scale. Any individual efforts to recycle more and switch off unnecessary lights have been more than offset by transnational counter-efforts: for example, “[i]n 2012 the US energy company Exxon— the world’s largest oil producer—signed a deal with Russia to invest up to $500 billion in oil and gas exploration and extraction in the Arctic, in Russia’s Kara Sea” (Emmott non-pag.), while around that time the UK government issued nearly 200 new licenses to drill for gas and oil in the North Sea. Suggestions to repair the environmental damage by only filling in half of the kettle, using one rather than two sheets of toilet paper, or buying an electric car fail precisely due to the inability to distinguish between process and entity and to think across different scales without collapsing them into a (singular) human measure of things. Such suggestions position environmental and climate change as a matter of individual moral decisions one is obliged to take, while completely blanking out the scale of phenomena we are facing, phenomena such as the overexploitation of oceans, the loss of tropical rainforests and woodlands, the rise in atmospheric brown clouds as a result of wood burning and oil use, and the overconsumption of water (including so-called “hidden water”, i.e., water used to produce other things) and meat.
Joanna Zylinska, Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene