Why our political and societal leaders don’t do more for the environment is a question many of us green bloggers face every day. There are a number of reasons for it, but one big one is that there isn’t the societal demand for such action. People don’t care that much.
Sure, if you ask people “Is the environment important?” or “Do you care if endangered species such as tigers and polar bears go extinct?” they will say “Yes.” Or if you ask them “Should the government do more to to protect the environment?” they will say “Yes.” But that doesn’t get into the depth of their caring.
How many people are going to vote their political representatives out of office because of their environmental record? How many people contact or communicate with their governmental officials even once a year to push for solutions to our environmental problems? How many people are even aware of the environmental issues their political leaders could be helping to address?
Are the Environmental Crises We’re Facing So Unimportant?
Here are a few issues we cover on Planetsave quite regularly that have strong scientific backing:
- we are seeing catastrophic “natural” disasters killing or severely harming the lives of millions and millions of people more and more these days;
- we are on the verge of a huge food crisis;
- we are on the verge of a huge water crisis.
All of these problems (plus many more related to them) are largely due to environmentally-irresponsible human actions and systems. Of course, these issues concern the basic needs of humans, what we need to live on Earth.
So, if you care about human livability on our planet, they are very important to you. (And who doesn’t care about human livability on our planet?)
What’s More Important?
Objectively, if you try to think about what’s more important, in the long term, not many things come to mind….
But if you actually just skip that problem and look at what people spend their time on or say they care about in an open-ended question, you get the subjective answer.
People spend their time on entertainment and, when asked what societal issues they care about, they say (most commonly) “the economy.”
Of course, our economy & the global economy as a whole are screwed in the long term if our food, water, & climatic systems fail. So, I guess the issue is just that people don’t get this (meaning, we need better education on this matter… from those who do) or they get the idea but have some faint hope that some genius or geniuses will solve these problems for us somehow. Or…
People Are Afraid to Care, Too Easily Hurt to Care
Perhaps it just comes down to this simple matter: it is difficult to care and tackle these problems.
I think this is actually not true. I think people live a happier, more enjoyable life when they open up to these issues and work on solutions to them.
But getting past the hurdle of fear, fear of the problems and fear that the solutions won’t be great enough to solve the problems, is a huge step.
Finding creative, mind-opening ways of helping others get passed that hurdle is one of the challenges and needs of those of us on the forefront of an environmentally-friendly and sustainable societal shift.
Photo Credit: jurvetson via flickr (CC license)