All the profits in the world won’t matter one tiny bit if we don’t have a climate we can live in. Money cannot buy anyone a ticket off this rock we call home when it becomes uninhabitable in the very near-term. Why is that concept so lost on those who believe making money is more important than taking care of our home?
I am not against the idea of anyone making their own money and living a comfortable life, far from it; what I am against is doing so at such a high cost to the comfortable existence of every other human on earth. From strip-mining mountain tops for coal, to forcing chemicals into the ground to gain access to hidden natural gas (and destroying drinking water all over the east cost in the process), to politicians railing against proven science at the behest of oil companies, I feel as though we have found ourselves surrounded by selfish fools more interested in lining their bathrooms in gold-leaf wallpaper than in a healthy future for all humanity. And that hurts to have to believe about our fellow humans.
If 2011 was any indicator of things to come, we are in a lot of trouble. Extreme drought in Africa, record floods on the east coast and in Thailand, dangerous wildfires in Texas, and destructive tornadoes in the heartland of America all combined to set a record in 2011 for the most billion dollar disasters in a single year. That’s scary. And because we as a nation refuse to slow down our consumption habits, limit our greenhouse gas emissions, and sign on to international climate treaties, destructive weather is going to be the norm for the foreseeable future, until we finally finish ourselves off. Remember, the planet will be fine — it’s us that’s screwed.
According to NASA and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in the next 100 years we can expect the following:
- Plant and animal species will face increasing competition for survival
- A serious reduction in planetary biodiversity
- Rising sea levels, which will make many current costal communities completely uninhabitable
- More intense heat waves
- Stronger hurricanes and blizzards
- More virulent diseases
- Worldwide food shortages
Nothing good will come from sitting on our hands while watching our drastically changing climate. Period. And yet we are living with some people and corporations still preoccupied with the archaic idea that they need more money than they could ever spend in a single lifetime, which many of them get through destructive means. Why are we allowing this to go on? Is there anything we can do?
I’m not sure anymore.
We are beyond the point of standing on street corners holding signs and flash mobs singing songs. We passed that point a long time ago. All the recycling and buying “greener” gifts at Christmas in the world is not going to save us anymore. We need new people in charge around the globe who care more about people than corporations, and every last one of us needs to make drastic changes in our behavior and lifestyles Switching out lightbulbs makes us feel good, but it’s not really going to do much in the big picture. It’s time to get tough, get honest with ourselves, and take a hard look in the mirror and see that the way most of us currently live needs to change if we want to have any chance of long-term survival.
- We need to pay more for well-made heirloom-quality furniture and not instantly look for cheap paperboard stuff that lasts a year or two. Buy it once, keep it for life, pass it on.
- We need to spend the extra money on organic foods, so that organic foods become the norm rather than the exception.
- We need to live in smaller houses, live more local, and invest in our communities rather than in a faceless corporation with warehouses in faraway lands.
- We need to start calling out corporations and environmental organizations for greenwashing the truth. We cannot expect groups like The Nature Conservancy to do the right thing for the rest of us when Monsanto is stuffing their back pockets with millions of dollars.
Maybe the key is that we need to work at convincing those who are diligently destroying the environment that all their money won’t matter for anything if they don’t work to slow down our rapidly changing climate. So maybe, just maybe, we can force them to wake up to that fact and use some of their earnings to do their part and help clean up our planet before it’s too late. We don’t really have any other options left, as the simple stuff that the majority of us try to do on our own cannot possibly outweigh the massive damage done by only a select few.
It’s time for some “top-down” change.
Image from BigStockPhoto