Monday, October 31, 2016

The Earth Has Lost More Than Half Its Animals Since 1970

That's what this story is all about.  And it probably will not surprise you to know that we are the culprits.  Nor will it surprise you that our resource consumption is currently proceeding at an unsustainable rate.

What may or may not surprise you is that the doomsday effectively prophesied by all of this is not at all inevitable.  There are things we can do to stop this and, in fact, some of them are already being done, although not yet on a scale that would make a significant difference.  So, as always, the question of our survival is squarely in our hands.

But it's always been easier to pretend that problems don't exist, especially when the problem is planetary in scale.  It's just too big.  What if I do something, and no one else does?  And why should I suffer in the process?  Maybe the experts are wrong; they're not always right.  And, before you know it, we've exhausted all of the rationalizations, and imposed a death sentence on ourselves and everyone else.

It's easy for liberals like myself to look at the skeptics and decide that all we can do is use government to force people to make distasteful choices.  What if there were a better way to get people to take short-term action in our long-term interests?  One that didn't feel like sacrifice.  One that, if it didn't feel like fun, at least felt like it was a choice, one that people could make willingly.

We could take a lesson from Tom Sawyer and his ability to convince his friends to whitewash the fence.  There's nothing wrong with a little old-fashioned salespersonship, if its the case that you've got something worth selling.  We do; can we humble ourselves to adopt new ways of thinking that might save ourselves and others?

I don't know.  But we have to try.  If you point a gun at people and tell them to act in their own best interests, all they can see is the gun.  We need to put down the sticks, and find some carrots fast.

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