The Dilemma of Selective Activism

By Andrew Lui

We often focus on the wrong things when we think of being socially conscious and making a difference. The culture that we have today instills values for bettering the world, like being aware of the environment and the destruction it faces in the near future if we do nothing.

The issue here is that the way we implement change is based off of the capitalistic values of our economy, which causes a pseudo-liberalism of social awareness and action from the very market that is causing the problems. We allow them profit in the end.

For example, I cannot count the number of times I have seen the video of the sea turtle with a straw in its nose. That one video spurred action for people to stop using plastic straws, and pursue other options in consuming their drinks. This allowed large corporations like Starbucks to cater to the public and advertise their new strawless lids to put themselves in a better light. Like that would make us forget the fact that none of their cups are recyclable.

They are still causing tons of waste, destroying the environment. But that’s disregarded when they make moves like implementing strawless lids. Because the sea turtles. That’s what people care about. What about all the other trash,  especially plastic, that is dumped into the ocean and which affects all the other sea creatures and the whole world.