Insofar as it is convenient for me to do so, I always do what I can to help the environment. I drive a hybrid car and will eventually switch to electric. I reuse and reduce. I avoid using electricity in daylight (the nature of electricity requires power companies to produce as much as the maximum electricity used of the previous year). And I don’t eat meat (factory farming uses more water than we use for human consumption, more land than you can think of, and produces more greenhouse gases than cars). It’s part of my ‘do no harm’ moral theory.
And yet, intellectually, I have no real reason to do so. I hedge my bets, but I don’t suppose we’ll do any better in the large scale than so many other populations have failed at in the small scale before (Ref. J. Diamond’s “Collapse”).
I fear our race should have played out the Prisoner’s Dilemma 10,000 more generations before the advent of technology. My fear is that only in that way could a true morality and conservationist respect for nature develop. As it is, we’re in a rather precarious point in our history in which the combination of individual demand is having a detrimental effect on our environment. We’re a bunny population that has outgrown its food supply, a too virulent virus where the best strategy for each individual finally comes directly at odds with the necessary group strategy of survival.
And I’m pessimistic. I think that our individualistic societies are too short-sighted to realize they are damning the world or too selfish to restrain their own uses and abuses. We’ll be choked to death by the free rider problem. Oops.
If you disagree, that’s cool. It’s intellectual masturbation anyway. Neither of us will know how it turns out so it’s foolish to feel certainty, anger, or superiority anyway. At least the course of action that my point of view requires is a sustainable one. Individual ignorance is not. However, I don’t have to worry about the future. My genes shall only be represented insofar as my siblings are related to me. I’m just not going to be a jerk and mess it up for those whose genes will go on.
But good luck with that. Seriously,
— Pixel Q. Styx