Of course, individual effort is not enough. That's why I support the work of NRDC, Environmental Defense, and my state PIRG. These organizations have scientists, lawyers & others who both defend the environment & work for changes on a larger scale. I'm sure there are other good effective organizations.
Personally I recycle like crazy, but our whole county has a curbside recycling program. That's where differences are made. There are, or at least were, federal regulations on energy efficiency ratings for auto sales. I think the SUV's have avoided these regulations because of not being classed as cars.
It takes both individual personal changes and societal changes. Governmental regualtion to achieve some of these goals is controversial. Societal change come slowly, but it's discussions like this one that can make people aware of the possibilities.
One of the problems with the whole gas problem is that we've had at least 75 years of building based on cheap gas & it's really hard to put effective mass transit into the suburbs as they are in the US. We can't tear them all down, but it seems like lots get ever bigger in new developments.