THE NEED TO EDUCATE FOR LONG TERM SUSTAINABILITY
One thing that humankind is continually faced with is decisions, taken by individuals or groups of individuals, that have ecologically destructive consequences. In the past the reaction by ecologically concerned people to these decisions has varied from resignation to setting up organisations, e.g. Green
Peace, to actively oppose the decisions or to try to ameliorate the destructive consequences of the decisions.
This is well and good but if we step back a little and look at what has been happening since such organisations begun to be formed the volume of decisions needing to be opposed, from an ecological point of view, has continued to increase rather than decrease. In other words reactive opposition to already taken decisions is in no way curing the problem. Clearly we need to develop another approach.
The ecological problems we are talking of here arise because of decisions taken by human beings so surely the best place to start is with a reform of human decision making.
This is however not a simple matter because decision makers are naturally guided in their decision making by the perceived benefits that will accrue to themselves and/or others who support them in their decision, for convenience termed – the Interested Parties [IP], and the difficulty is that immediate and short term consequences of ecologically harmful decisions are usually experienced by the IP's as beneficial to themselves whereas the ecologically damaging consequences of the decisions tend to arise in the medium to long term and are often more diffuse in their impact than the impact of the perceived benefits on the IP's.
The reality is however that the longer term ecologically damaging impacts damage the IP's interests as well as everybody else's interests. Global warming being a case in point. This is something that needs to be brought home to human beings whilst they are still children. It is some thing that should definitely be taught in schools in an effort to produce generations of people that do not make decisions purely based in their short term interests.
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