May I share with you why I think the Earth is screwed?
If you watch the news for just one day you will see that money and related issues take up 90% of every broadcast. It’s the Greek crisis, it’s the fact that economies worldwide are not growing, and it’s the stock markets. These are the urgent issues of the day.
And these issues resonate with us. After all, if the stock market in Ho Chi Minh City is down 43% how on earth are we going to pay our bills at the end of this month? And there is nothing quite so urgent as this months bills.
So, economic growth is important. If you listen to the words that our leaders use, they keep talking about helping us consume more. And if we have no money, they will find a way to lend money to us to help us consume more, whether we need to or not. (They do not yet have that money, but hope it will come from the taxes our consumption will generate.)
climate change still not urgent
Climate change doesn’t make nearly as much news. Nor is the news nearly as focused, because nobody really knows what the problem is, or even if there is one.
The fact that you and I have, in the past 50 years, eaten our way through the Earth’s resources in much the same way as a swarm of locusts goes through an acre of wheat, is not urgent. I think it is the most biggest issue that mankind has ever faced, but it sure is not urgent. We have to pay the bills first.
That’s the first problem. We humans deal with urgent issues first, which doesn’t leave much time for the important things.
There is a second issue. Those bills that you face at the end of this month are obviously yours. Either you have signed bits of paper that make them yours, or you have spent far too much money on shiraz, woman, song and a new flatscreen this month. It is your job to make things right.
easy to hide away
But who must fix climate change? (I am assuming that there is such a thing, and for the purposes of this article that’s good enough.) Any problem which we all own â€“ the “commons” such as polluted air or polluted sea â€“ is also owned by none of us. As long as we can blame “them”, or expect “them” to fix it, we can hide away from it.
Why are these two issues so crucial to us?
Well, economic growth demands more intensive use of the earths resources. Any attempt to reduce climate change demands less intensive use of the earths resources.
Economic growth is urgent. Climate change is merely important. (And if climate change isn’t important, the fact that we are using all of the helium, oil, iron, fish, etc might bother our grandchildren when they go cold and hungry 50 years hence.)
So what is the answer?
By Peter Carruthers. Source