If a mass shooting occurs at an elementary school, the whole country (and even much of the world) pays notice. And we focus on the news and what to do about it for days, or even weeks or months.
No complaint here at all! I think it’s an important matter that deserves our attention, and I do give it mine.
However, what’s absurd to me is that we’re committing mass murder on a daily basis and almost no one is paying any attention or working to solve the problem.
OK, not “almost no one” — there are millions of people working around the US and around the globe to advance clean energy, bicycling, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, smart city planning, ecologically friendly agriculture and food choices, and more. However, the vast majority still give it a passing glance and say they don’t have enough time, money, or common sense for it.
Let’s get into some economics.
Our Water, Food, Ecological Systems Worth Trillions… Or More
United Nations goodwill ambassador Pavan Sukhdev, formerly of Deutsche Bank, has noted that nature needs a seat at the boardroom, stating: “Ignoring nature’s value risks ‘mayhem’ for corporations and mankind in the rush for profits and finite resources.”
There have been many ideas and attempts to calculate nature’s worth, and given that we rely on nature for food, water, electricity, our many goods,… um, life… the value has been projected to be quite high.
If you want more info along these lines, dig into some of those reports. Some will tell you $72 trillion a year (about the same as Gross World Product), some will tell you more more, some less. Or if you want to know more about ecological surveys for specific areas near you, simply contact a consulting agency that can provide those.
But seriously, without a livable climate, without the basics of human life, we die.
And so do our children.
And so do our grandchildren.
Unfortunately, that’s where we’re headed. Where’s the uproar? Where’s the nationwide or global focus on solutions? Each human life, one can easily argue, is priceless. But we’re treating them as worthless.
So, getting worked up about amass shooting is warranted, but it’s completely absurd that the world isn’t worked up about the many lives we sacrifice every day.
Why We Don’t Care
I’m sure there are different reasons why the majority of Americans (and probably humans) rank environmental matters so low. Here are a few that cross my mind:
- we think the harm we’re causing to our food and water systems, and to our climate, will somehow not affect us;
- we don’t see most of the pollution we create, so we forget about it;
- the issue is more abstract than, say, our jobs and finances… that is, until it’s hard to afford food, find clean water, or avoid extremely destructive ‘natural’ disasters that result from global warming;
- we feel helpless in the face of it all — well, that is why we still live in caves, labor endlessly under kings and queens, treat black people as property, and treat women as less important than men, right?
But these reasons don’t change the fact that we, indeed, lose many lives every day to pollution; and that we could very possibly extinguish the human species if we don’t get global warming and climate change under control.
It’s no joke. Are you ready to join the effort millions are engaged in to turn the minority into the majority? To protect our children and grandchildren from disease, lack of food and water, and death?
If so, start today by sharing this post!
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.