Just seeing this article, which highlights scientific research connecting personal tendencies toward environmentalism with the presence of empathy…
This – empathy driving my conclusion that we shouldn’t (collectively, by our choices) be forcing other people to live in shitty environments – is true for me and for everyone I know to be involved in the environmental movement. I’m involved because I don’t like seeing people in our community – and beyond – die early due to air pollution (and because I’m painfully aware that my car-driving and food-eating and stuff-buying is adding to the problem).
I don’t worry about the planet (frankly, the planet will continue to spin – and will heal more quickly – once we’ve put ourselves out of our own misery).
And that — our collective, increasing misery as we continue to make choices that fail to align with what we say that we want — is what I am attempting to mitigate. The environmental issues we face right now — the issues affecting not only my daughter and me, but also *billions of other people* — are inherently social in nature, and have no easy solutions.
My empathy for those who do not have access to the resources I do (education, home, food, clean water, safety…), combined with my awareness that the current US system makes it nearly impossible for Americans to NOT cause further suffering for other humans – is what drives me to seek environmental solutions to our most pressing social problems.
If you consider yourself thoughtful and empathetic, but have not yet connected the dots between your daily behaviors and the suffering of other humans, I’d be happy to help you make that happen, using data and everyday examples (because we need more people making more changes, more quickly, to reduce suffering- for all of us).