Sunday, 31 August 2008


By Carl Safina

Nearly every just cause is a struggle between the good of the many and
the greed of a few. But because greed has the advertising dollars to
make selfishness fashionable, it sustains itself by turning enough
people against their own self-interest. Foremost, our interest in
hanging on to our money. Second, our health. Third, the options of our

Of all the psychopathology in the climate issue, the most
counterproductive thought is that solving the problem will require
sacrifice. As though our wastefulness of energy and money is not
sacrifice. As though war built around oil is not sacrifice. As though
losing polar bears, ice-dependent penguins, coral reefs, and thousands
of other living companions is not sacrifice. As though withered
cropland is not a sacrifice, or letting the fresh water of cities dry
up as glacier-fed rivers shrink. As though risking seawater inundation
and the displacement of hundreds of millions of coastal people is not
a sacrifice -- and reckless risk.

But don't tell me to own a more efficient car; that would be a sacrifice! We think we don't want to sacrifice, but sacrifice is exactly what we're doing by perpetuating problems that only get worse; we're sacrificing our money, and sacrificing what is big and permanent, to prolong what is small,temporary, and harmful. We're sacrificing animals, peace, and children to retain wastefulness while enriching those who disdain us.

When we stop seeing our relationship with the whole living world as a
matter of sustainability, and realize it is a matter of morality -- of
right and wrong -- we might make the moment we need.

Orion Magazine, Sept. 1, 2008

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