Why Are We Still Embarrassing Ourselves?

We were asked the question this week which environmental problems have humans faced that we didn’t know were problems until it was too late. It seemed like a daunting task because this question seemed too specific to answer. But once the pregnant pause ended, we soon realized that most of the problems we face fall into this category.

Up to a certain point in history, not anticipating problems feels acceptable. Surviving is a trial and error process and negative behaviors result in consequences. The way we sustain our behaviors is through limiting these consequences. What was surprising about when slowing fitting all of our environmental problems into this response category, was how many of these problems we now know have solutions and we still continue unsustainable practices. Like irresponsible deforestation, improper waste disposal, animal extinction, and poor farming practices. Objectively it’s embarrassing when we don’t fix these problems immediately because of short-term reasons like habitual action or profit-loss. We have the power to feed everyone on this planet effortlessly, but we don’t because there is no profit in it so why do it.

There is a YouTube channel called PragerU, and as far as I can tell their goals are to add an illusion of fact to the conservative message by any means possible. They focus on disclaiming climate change, women’s rights, and open-minded philosophy. This may seem innocent despite its message just being one out of millions of YouTube channels, but the way they put these arguments across are very subtle. The way they push their messages are very calculated. I wanted to share this video from them about how we should love fossil fuels. Distantly, it’s infuriating how weak the argument is, but how desperate their intentions seem. They’re set up for a one-time viewer to just take away their side of the argument and not try to falsify it, but once you start to pick it apart you see how the narrator is the president for the center for industrial progress, and how this fictional character they made to illustrate the progress we’ve made is now being used as a source of truth. I encourage you to watch some videos because they are good practice to have arguments for if you were to find yourself in one.


5 thoughts on “Why Are We Still Embarrassing Ourselves?”

  1. I agree with you that once we have identified a problem it would be better to begin to fix it, but with some problems there are even more problems. Its very hard to find a problem with an easy fix, and sometimes by trying to be proactive, we only make things worse. Sometimes what we thought was a problem was just a side effect to the problem or even a solution to another problem (like eradicating a species and finding out their benefits to an ecosystem.) With all of these possibilities its reasonable that we may want to be cautious, but most the time, as in your examples, we are cautious to a fault.

  2. I agree with mpunches, fixing one problem gives birth to other problems which are hard to fix. Advanced technologies might be helping us, but in the long run they might create problems which humans might not be able to resolve.

  3. The issue with organizations like the one you linked to is that they are highly politicized and they try and push a certain agenda that is going to gain them money and powerful connections. I looked at the website for the Center for Industrial Progress and in their about section they state “every individual has the potential for a longer, happier, healthier, safer, more comfortable, more meaningful, more opportunity-filled life.” It seems to me that they put more emphasis on expanding the opportunities that people have in the short-run and aren’t considering the long-term problems associated with that. Also, by stating that their goal is to give people a more meaningful life it is saying that these people are happy when that just isn’t true. The United States has a very low happy index and, yet, we are one of the most industrialized nations.

  4. I found this link to be very intriguing. Its an interesting look into the opposition that many environmentalist face. I find that there will always be support for the direction in which to money comes from. The big fossil fuel companies will hold on for as long as possible to keep their share of the wealth.

  5. I agree that once a problem has been identified it is in our best interest to begin to solve it, but you could also go back to the idea of root causes. If we haven’t fully identified the root cause of the problem then we are potentially just placing a band-aid on the issue instead of solving it. Also it is very had to find a problem that is “easy” to fix.

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