Climate change is a very real and serious problem. Fully addressing it is going to take powerful leadership and quite frankly sacrifice. Most major plans to true deal with the issue will require the general public to pay more for energy, transportation, and/or change their lifestyle in ways they do not want. Ways that on net will make people somewhat worse off since they will need to pay for the pollution they created which up till now has been mostly free. Yet despite the challenge what makes me most pessimistic is not the political rhetoric or the need for collective sacrifice but fashion.
There is one amazing truly win-win-win thing we could do the help with climate change, business shorts.
Six percent of all electricity produced in the United States is used on air conditioning. If men were encourage to wear business shorts during the summer instead of long pants or comically impractical wool suits, we could reduce that number. It would be a win for businesses and organization who get to spend less on AC. It would be a win for the planet. Finally, It would be a win for the people in the shorts. Having lived in both the DC and NYC region having to go to work in full pants when it is over 95 degree with 80% humidity is torturous.
Yet for some reason business shorts aren’t widely adopted. Most importantly the top business leaders, non-profit organization leaders, and politicians who claim climate change is a massive threat are still walking around DC in business suits in the middle of summer. They think we need bold action and shared sacrifice, but they aren’t even willing to risk looking unfashionable even it if could save the planet while making the so much more comfortable. Our leaders would rather let the planet burn and live with swamp ass than having people see their calves.
If our leaders aren’t going to make this most minor of personal sacrifice for the goal and first try to push society to adopt these win-win-win solutions, I have no optimism we can ever do the hard stuff. When I finally see a senator in shorts this summer I will believe we are taking climate change seriously.