Systemic problems of energy, climate change, and pollution cannot be solved by people taking shorter showers and recycling. The solutions require political action at a mass scale.
From a 2009 Orion Magazine article, and still as true as ever.
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet?
Being a dutiful recycler won’t stop the XL pipeline or get belching coal plants shut down. Only mass political action can do that.