Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll be berated for not caring enough, for not caring correctly, for not caring at all. But you do care – or at least most of us tell ourselves, each other, and polling agencies that we do. But why do you give a shit about global warming?
Is it your strong, personal connection with those tens of millions of poor souls squatting in poverty along the coasts of the world, first on the casualty list as the seas continue to rise? Bullshit. You’ve likely never even heard of them, and if you have, you probably didn’t actually pay attention; just one more statistic supporting a belief you already held.
Is it your sense of moral obligation to future generations? Bullshit. Although the world contains many proudly altruistic people, most of us continue to prove on a daily basis that the current desires of ‘us’ are vastly more important than the future problems of ‘them’.
Is it because enough people have shouted at you to give a shit that by now it feels like the right thing to do? Because it feels so good to go with the flow, particularly when you can smugly justify it as morally correct ? Probably. And that’s okay.
Who says you need to be concerned about people on the other side of the planet? Maturation requires honest self-assessment about motivations as well as actions; the longer you hypocritically assert that your actions are motivated by altruism rather than self interest, the longer you perpetuate an unnecessary lie.
So why not drop the pretense and admit to yourself that you care about the environment because you feel good about doing so? There’s no shame in it. Maybe you’ve never given a thought to the nameless and faceless masses. That doesn’t make you a bad person, nor must you pretend to care about them in order to honestly assert that you care about the quality of air in your home town.
Junk your smog-belching car because you can’t afford the price at the pump. Refuse to buy the products of corporations known to be environmental offenders because you want to be seen wearing local indie labels instead. Whatever. Just stop lying to yourself about why you do whatever it is that you do, and you’ll be even happier to be doing it.