For thousands of years of humanity's reign on Earth, we have been abusing the planet. Such abuse includes de-forestation, driving countless species to extinction, depleting the ozone layer, and the greenhouse effect. The list goes on and on. I could understand that humans didn't initially realize and appreciate the extent of the fragility of our planet; however, we've had a few thousand years to evolve, and believe it or not, humans did get smarter over time. The particularly smart folks amongst us have determined from mistakes of past societies (and even our more contemporary society) what the dos and don'ts are of living on this planet. Unfortunately, we have to contend with a mix of selfish people, greedy people, and ignorant people which prevent us from doing things right.
The ignorant people are those who either choose to ignore the facts, or don't bother to go out and get the facts. They'd rather put all of their trust in their elected leaders rather than get the real facts and form their opinions based on these facts. That goes in with the whole "I trust our president mentality." Why would you? He's not divine. He's human just like the rest of us, and his motives are probably not pure.
The selfish people are the folks who think that the planet is there for their benefit and that not allowing them to do things (e.g. buying a gas-guzzling Hummer) is infringing on their so-called god-given rights.
The greedy people are the worst offenders. These are the fine folks who are well-informed of the facts, but blatently choose to ignore them and will even go so far as covering up the facts for personal gain. Some classic examples include:
- Big tobacco going on and on for years about how there's not proof that cigarettes can kill you.
- US president George W. Bush claiming that the invasion of Iraq was a huge step in fighting the war on terror...and then switching gears to "liberation" of the Iraqi people when it was revealed that the so-called intelligence reports were wrong.
- Government (take your pick of which government) denial that global warming is real.
- Dictators. Need I say more?
So, are we screwed? My bet is on yes. We've had thousands of years of human history to learn from, and yet we still can't seem to get our act together. What will it take for us live in harmony? A major catastrophe like a hostile alien invasion? A cometary collision with Earth? All-out nuclear war? Even if these things did force us to get our collective act together, do we deserve another chance? I think we've overstayed our welcome. I'd love nothing more for humanity to prosper to its potential, but only time will tell...