Watching Men At Work Destroy The World
By Steve Salmony
26 December, 2010
Our children deserve the chance of facing the prospect of a future that is good enough. I am no longer thinking of leaving the children a better world than the one that was given to their elders. That appears out of reach now. It remains my hope that my generation of elders, with unaccepted responsibilities to assume and unfulfilled duties to perform, will do better than we doing now by changing our ways for the sake of keeping Earth fit for habitation by children everywhere. As examples, we could pay our debts instead of mortgage the children’s future; clean up the enormous ecological messes that have been made in the course of the past 65 years; and eschew “bigger is better” as well as “the biggest is the best” in favor of “small is beautiful”, doing more with less, and embracing the spirit of living well by living more simply and sustainably.
Who knows, the current primrose path to the future could be abandoned before it is too late to make necessary behavior changes to sustainable lifestyles and right-sized enterprises.
Perhaps all of us have been travelling down a long road during the course of my lifetime, a road of growing production and distribution capabilities, of wanton overconsumption and reckless hoarding, and of unbridled overpopulation of the Earth. These activities had been occurring for hundreds upon hundreds of years on a relatively small sustainable scale, but only recently exploded in seemingly uncontrollable ways, within our planetary home and without sufficient regard being given by ‘the brightest and best’ either to human limits or Earth’s limitations. An improbable combination of narcissism, arrogance, foolhardiness and greed blinded leadership to the practical requirements of living on Earth; to the “rules of the house” in our planetary home. Many too many leaders decided to behave like kids who were left alone and, tragically, given the run of the house. All house rules were ‘forgotten’ or simply ignored. Laissez faire, whatever will be will be, living without limits and all that ruled! Whatever was viewed as politically convenient and economically expedient was determined to be best thing to do. Of all things, greedmongering was extolled as a virtue. Indeed, the shibboleth of my generation can be summed up in three words, Greed is good.
The elders-behaving-like-kids shunned the rules of the house and tore everything up in our planetary home. Yes, they have made a big mess. When some among them realized what they were actually doing and spoke out loudly and clearly, all the home wreckers immediately felt angry and stuck, as if between a rock and hard place. Do they stop their destructive activities or else choose to keep tearing up the place? This is a tough choice for kids at play. Who knows, perhaps they will not be caught red-handed at what they have been doing. And if they are caught, they could always blame the wreckage on other bad boys. Or they could agree among themselves to point ‘the finger of guilt’ at one another. In this way, the kids think, no one will be able to tell who did what so that no one can be held accountable. How many times have we seen kids at play and men at work blame their wrongdoing on others and not ever take responsibility for their dishonorable, deceitful or destructive behavior?
Either the choice to turn back and begin the clean-up or the choice to keep tearing things up is fraught with danger. From a kid’s perspective they could face more danger by trying to clean up the messes they made than they would be exposed to by continuing with their rampage. Either choice presents its own challenges and threats. After all, so much damage has already been done to everything that was supposed to be protected and preserved for those who come after us. There is no longer any easy way forward, that is for sure, even in the best circumstances.
Although all of us are implicated in this colossal mess, please note that humanity is not the perpetrator of the global predicament looming before the family of humanity. Self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us bear primary responsibility for what is happening. Sad to say, these dishonest and duplicitous perpetrators of the gigantic mess have successfully arranged things, they believe, so as not to have any "skin in the game" being played out on Earth in our time. Perhaps they have chosen to blow off their children's future. Come what may.
Steve Salmony is a self-proclaimed global citizen, a psychologist and father of three grown children. Married 38 years ago. In 2001 Steve founded the AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population to raise consciousness of the colossal threat that the unbridled, near exponential growth of absolute global human population numbers poses for all great and small living things on Earth in our time. His quixotic campaign focuses upon the best available science of human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth, in order to save the planet as a place fit for habitation by children everywhere. He can be reached at SESALMONY@aol.com