Sometimes we have to back away and put things in context to see them clearly. The political system through which we view so many of our social and economic concerns is an exceedingly narrow lens. When we confine our view to that lens, it is akin to looking at the universe through a soda straw.
If I may be forgiven for piling on the metaphors, imagine our political system as a two-lane highway. We get to choose whether we drive in the left lane, the right lane or straight up the middle. Either way, we remain on the same road going to the same place. The problem is, the road we're on is a direct route to an increasingly crowded, chaotic, dysfunctional and ultimately uninhabitable planet. Our soda straw view of the universe can make it difficult to see these things or to keep them in sight. Everybody wants to fight about which side of the road to drive on, with all too few questioning the road itself. And it's a bad road we're on.
Every day we dig the hole a little deeper. We cheer when we believe the economy is doing well or getting better with total disregard for the deeper implications for the planet and the biosphere. When we cheer on the economy we are not just cheering for livelihoods, jobs and economic well-being, we are also cheering for the destruction and permanent loss of vital habitat and natural resources that we will one day soon come to miss. We are reinforcing the continued downward spiral toward ecocide and species destruction that are among the most important and least considered consequences of the continuation of the status quo.
Report: Consumption of Earth's resources unsustainableOur soda straw perspective has us locked into a path that amounts to suicide for the human race.
(CBS News) The Earth's population is depleting our planet's natural resources at a rate faster than what is needed for those resources to be replenished, putting increased pressure on biodiversity and the health of ecosystems, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund.
Read more here.
We are in desperate need of an alternative to the status quo. Our continued existence as a species depends upon it. We need a different road – a paradigm shift, not a lane shift. Without it, all will be lost.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were able to reconcile our understanding of science, ecology, climate change/global warming, etc with our need to sustain ourselves? Wouldn't it be great if we could manage an economy that wouldn't doom us to extinction? How wonderful would it be if we could melt the frozen hearts of our all-powerful 1% and all come together to make a new start – a new start that would give all of humanity renewed hope and possibility?
Or we could just embrace our myopia and cheer and scrap our way out of existence. Yeah, that's probably the way it will go. It's pretty much how we roll.