Monday, January 14, 2008
Why hasn't everybody turned green yet? (Part 1)
You'd think every one of us would have turned at least light green by now, wouldn't you? So why haven't we?
Is it that despite all the publicity about climate change, peak oil and environmental crisis there are still lots of people who still have not realized that the human species is wrecking the planet it lives on, endangering its own survival and that of many other life forms?
Is that they have heard about it but they are assuming that someone else – the Government, the technological experts, the United Nations, God – will fix all the problems?
Is it that they know about the problems and know that nobody else is going to fix them but the whole thing is so big and awful to contemplate that they stick their heads in the sand and pretend it is just not true?
Is it that they know about the problems and that nobody else is going to fix them and have decided that since the problems are unfixable and everything is going down the tube anyway they may as well just have a good time and to hell with tomorrow?
I suppose the answer to my question is 'all of the above'.
It would be surprising if there really was anybody left in total ignorance of the environmental crisis since the media are full of stories about it these days. But your average daily newspaper is quite likely to run a story about global warming, another about some species of furry creature that has just joined the endangered species list and a third about how disappointed the retailers are because the Christmas sales figures were down a notch. And not a word about the deep connection between these three stories. No joining of the dots.
A neighbour sitting near me on the bus the other day was loudly lamenting the closure of yet another little local food store. And even as she did so, she was clutching on her lap a plastic bag full of food from the supermarket she had just been shopping at. A highly intelligent woman, but obviously not good at joining dots.
I think this is one of the main reasons why there are so many people who have not yet turned green. It is not that they don't know about the problems our species is facing. It is not that they are in denial. It is not that they know but don't care. It is that they haven't really joined all the dots together yet. They have not really got it that it is we ordinary folk who hold in our hands the power to change things, to live differently, to turn green and to create a new, sustainable way of life for everyone on the planet before it is too late.
The newspapers and radio and TV programs are not going to join the dots for us because their existence depends on our continuing to buy stuff from the companies whose advertising keeps them in business. We have to do our own dot-joining.
So why don't we do more of it, and faster? I have some thoughts about that, too. Watch for the next post.
Meanwhile, if you haven't yet seen that wonderful little video 'The Story of Stuff', click on the title to do so.