What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say to themselves as they were cutting down the last tree?
I’m not for sure. But at some point, I’m sure someone said, “It’s someone else’s problem.”
Do societies fail by choice then or are they the victim of circumstances?
It’s easy to push blame away. Much more difficult to see things as they really are—especially when they gradually happen. We can’t fix problems unless we can perceive them.
For one, many of us are haven’t been alive long enough to see the changes or perhaps we don’t even know better.
“This is the way things have always been.”
We also tend to rationalize, make things smaller than they actually are to make ourselves feel better.
“Don’t worry, we’ve planted new trees over there.”
Because we can’t live forever, we will act out of our own self-interest. It’s the tragedy of the commons, as they say.
And of course, we are talking about fixed resources. There isn’t an unlimited supply of trees even if they are renewable. We consume more than we create.
There is also short-term thinking, conflicts of interest (hard to change things whenever rely on it for a paycheck), not enough boundaries or regulation, poor decision making, lust for power, status roles, fear, anxiety, short-term thinking…or maybe the problem is so big, we can’t fix it.
Somebody has to fix things when are truly broken. So, when are you going to realize you are somebody? When are you going to stand up and be the difference?