Human Lies That Affect the Environment

environmental-protection-326923_960_720When people act in conflict with their values, many suppress and deny the conflict, telling themselves stories. You can clearly tell this even when you let them undergo a lie detector test. They rarely look at such stories critically since they feel better if they don’t. That’s unfortunate because they are usually specious, self-serving, and fatuous..

My changing doesn’t make much difference.

That logic suggests no one ever could achieve much. You can lead others to increase your leverage. You don’t have to reach Nelson Mandela or George Washington levels to achieve what many individuals have achieved.

Economic growth will solve things.

Economic growth has solved many problems. The theory sounds nice, but when theory and observation are in conflict, observation is right. Growth has not solved every economic problem and growth is causing environmental problems. Moreover, many cultures with steady-state economies have prospered with populations happier than ours.

Technology will solve everything.

Technology can solve a lot, and it buys us time to solve other problems, but it’s one element of a global system. Systemic change rarely arises from changing its elements. Solving systemic problems generally requires systemic solutions–for example, the beliefs and goals driving the system. Changing all fossil fuel use to renewables, for example, would represent incredible technological change, but would likely lead in the long run to greaterovershoot and risk faster collapse.

We’ll need technological innovation for the time it buys us to create systemic solutions, but it doesn’t solve everything.