Don’t Rely on the Individual to Save the Planet!

The quality of our environment is fundamental to our long term survival as a species. You would think, therefore, we’d be quite keen to look after it. You’d think that we would want to live in a clean, healthy and a generally “nice” environment.

Unfortunately, the evidence suggests not.

Like marauding pirates, we have mercilessly plundered from our environment. We have used and abused what it has freely offered us. Our actions have been and continue to be such that we take and exploit to the point of obliteration and extinction.

Driven by profit and gain, if there’s an advantage to be acquired then all else becomes secondary. Individual short term self-interest dominates over thoughts towards the well-being of the wider population. As demonstrated by the fact that all too often we act on the basis of the here and now rather than thinking about the future or the consequences of our actions.

Why would we have ever suspected anything else?

There’s no great precedent that we will do the right thing, the proper thing, the necessary thing.

How can you expect people to act in the best interests of the environment when they can’t even act in the best interests of themselves?

Despite well-established and widely known health warnings many people continue to smoke; they take recreational drugs; they overeat to the point of obesity; they drink alcohol excessively; they fail to do adequate exercise.

In the developed world, more people die from conditions caused by their lifestyle (heart attack, stroke, diabetes) than by any other reason. It seems we can’t even do the right thing for ourselves.

It’s a shocking testament to individual neglect and abuse.

And, in relation to the environment, we’re expecting these people to think of the wider population’s well-being and, what’s more, to modify their behaviour for the benefit of others, people who they have no relationship or association with.

That’s just not going to happen.

If people cannot act responsibly in relation to their own behaviours how can we expect it in relation to others?

The individual is just not going to save the planet.