Omission and commission: Who cut down the last tree?

Spaceship Earth is the idea that everyone in the human race works together towards the greater good.

The problem with this spaceship is that it frequently runs into malfunctions. Systems breakdown (global warming), oxygen levels fall (nuclear weapons), the navigation system has us off course (democracy falling apart)…

So, here is the question: How much of this damage is being caused by unintentional consequences and how much of it is done in full awareness?

It turns out, that both are the problem. That human beings, when given the choice, will often choose to stay in the shadows and keep their heads in the sand. Because once you see the truth you can’t unsee it. And we think this leaves us off the hook. An act of omission.

The second part is, human beings also have a difficult time not acting on their own self-interest. We only live once and we want that one life to be in comfort. An act of commission.

Another way to think about this is what happened on Easter Island. As pointed out by Jared Diamond, What were Easter Islanders saying as they cut down the last tree on the island?

Who cut it down? At what point did they say it is inevitable so I might as well get mine? Who spoke up? Who could predict what was happening? Who failed to warn the others?

We must see what is actually happening and know there is a problem that needs to be solved. And we must proceed through conflicts of interest to do what is ultimately best for the collective.

The risk of doing nothing is far greater than the risk of doing something. Even if that thing we do fails.

We can still try again.

For now at least.