What if?

Paranoia is only the leading edge of the discovery that everything in the world is connected.
~The Illuminatus Trilogy

A book I’m reading (that will be reviewed when finished) got me thinking about this today.

What if there is no impending global catastrophe? Global warming turns out to be overrated, rates of pollution and habitat loss and what have you are declining, etc, etc.

A mental exercise, if you will. How would your attitude toward humanity, cities, vehicles, consumerism, etc, change? Would your behaviors change? Would you, if you are currently, continue to try to live a low-impact life?

I convinced myself during my lunch break that things were getting better and the change in attitude and perception was…interesting. I still didn’t like cars, but the people I saw walking made me happy, which is the case normally, it was just a different kind of happy. I felt calmer, certainly.

I doubt my behavior would change much. Most of what I do is low-impact not because of IMPENDING DOOM, but because I’d rather live a life that is more connected to the world around me. And the whole frugality thing is just plain nice.

I would probably give more consideration to moving into the country, though. The biggest negatives about living in the country are the lack of proximity to well, anything, and the impact of roads and human dwellings on habitat. (If you think one little road doesn’t hurt anything, you’re very, very wrong, IMPENDING DOOM or not. I’ve spent several class periods being lectured on the impacts of even dirt tracks on habitat, predation, and connectivity.)

“But if things are getting better, wouldn’t the green/environmental movement let us know?” Very likely they wouldn’t. Why? For the same reason they tried to dissuade restoration ecologists from saying “Hey, we can restore rainforest!” Because perpetuating the belief that once the rainforests are gone, they’re gone; or perpetuating the belief in IMPENDING DOOM, they keep the donations coming. Granted, they don’t think like that, but it’s easier for them to get funding, backing, and support if there’s a Big Issue at stake. It’s easier to motivate people with “The Earth is in danger!” rather than “We’re doing better, so let’s keep it up!”

I’m not saying there is or is not IMPENDING DOOM. I’m just saying, think about it the other way (which means if you don’t believe in IMPENDING DOOM, try to convince yourself of it). It is, if nothing else, an interesting mental exercise.

So, would you change? Why or why not?

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4 Responses to “What if?”

  1. Dargon Says:

    I think it goes without saying that I wouldn’t. As I’ve stated before, I live a fairly minimal lifestyle not for environmental reasons, but for financial and mobility reasons.

    Interesting thing, when you mentioned this, my first thought was not individual behavior but economic differences. I’d be willing to bet many goods would become cheaper, as environmental regulations would be more lax. This would likely lead to more pollution, especially in industrial areas. Carbon credits would be a dead business. And Al Gore would cease to be the second spot savior of the universe.

  2. Like anything human in this world, we need a dramatic excuse, reason, Armageddon, the promise of hell, to ever change our ways. I care for the environment in a very detached way… it’s mostly the consumerism and the extreme, instant-gratification culture the U.S. is part of that I detest.

    I feel I do not embody what I preach yet, as I do not have my own place yet. It is my intention, however, to continue being as I am.

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