I recently finished reading Biophilia, a book about the interactions between human and nature. In the book, E. O. Wilson states that values are time-dependent. People want to ensure the protection and health of themselves and the earth for future generations, so long as there isn’t a great personal cost of doing so. Deforestation, rising temperatures, depleting sea ice, and a growing issue with plastics may be imminent problems and have profound impacts on future generations, but humans only look forward and a lifetime or two. Getting people to fully grasp the severity of the problems takes an immense amount of time and effort, and requires a listening ear to start with.
In a world of consumerism, a strong conservation ethic isn’t instilled in many people these days. And for others, doing little things, such as skipping the straw, makes them feel like conservation heroes. The truth is, although each little action helps, that isn’t nearly enough. We (me included) need to examine all aspects of our lives and look for areas of improvement. We need to think of how to best spread the message on how to reduce waste, reverse climate change, and stop the loss of the few remaining natural areas.
Of course, we can’t go out and stop all plastics production, stop the use of fossil fuels, etc. We need to balance choices to continue prosperity in the present, but protect our resources for the future. But as Wilson says, “To choose what is best for the near future is easy. But to choose what is best for both the near and distant futures is a hard task, often internally contradictory, and requiring ethical codes yet to be formulated.” The least we can do is try to improve...
Thanks for the book @cnic29