“A rich man and a poor man
went to a restaurant. The rich man ordered two courses, red wine and a
dessert. The poor man just asked for the dessert. When the bill arrived
the rich man said to the poor that they have to share the bill half-half.”
This example, given by Kristian Hoyer-Toft, one of the conference’s
speakers, was really appropriate to illustrate the theme of TRACK 1
session’s of Wednesday: responsibility.
One of the points in the presentation made by the German lecturer, Franziska Martinsen, was the Iris Marion
Young concept of “shared” ecological responsibility.
that both individuals and institutions are responsible for the negative
effects of climate change because they have an indirect co-participation
in capitalist structures like socio-economic processes and political
or cultural arrangements, especially in a globalized world.
Her conclusion was that individuals
are conceived as having the obligation to change unjust structures and
ideally to transform them into just ones. One of her examples was by
boycotting products which have climate damaging impacts, respectively
supporting products that are produced climate-neutrally.
“It is up
to us to decide if the climate change will lead to a fatalistic horror
scenario or if we want to share the responsibility for the future. It
is here and now,” Franziska Martinsen said.
Sofia Vaz, a Portuguese environmental
engineer, also emphasized the role of the individual in taking responsibility
for climate change during her presentation this Wednesday.
a very positive view about human beings, she talked about responsibility
as a virtue, and explained how you can develop responsibility as a trait
of the individual.
The first step would be take
responsibility as a habit, something that you can learn through a lot
of education. The second stage is to learn about environment to empower
people, and the last is to have an positive mood in your daily life.
to Sofia Vaz there is a “feel good factor” in human beings that can impel
them to be responsible and do good things for the environment.
already live in a fatalistic reality ruled by ‘there is nothing
to do about it’. So, we don’t loose anything in trying to be responsible", she argued.
These are very optimistic views
about the responsibility of climate change. Perspectives where we assume that the poor man in the restaurant would not argue, fight, or deny
sharing the bill with the rich man. The question that remains is to
figure out what kind of men are in this restaurant.