This beautifully produced book is depressing.
Environmental problems are so intractable in part because individuals must each decide to change their habits. Changing habits is hard enough for people with plenty of money, even when the consequences are personal immanent. How much harder is it to forego something for your great grandchildren — especially if you are living in a slum or subsistence farming.
It’s plain that solutions are necessary, but when it’s hard to persuade Americans to save money for their own retirement, I don’t think we should be too sanctimonious about overpopulation or slash-and-burn agriculture. I think any solution with hope of working must take into account the human tendency toward myopia and selfishness.
I’m no policy wonk so I should probably quit while I’m ahead. Here’s the question that environmental issues always surface for me. One of the most important things is to change the culture. Policies are easier to implement, and much less necessary, when people begin to do the right thing themselves. How does that happen right where I am?