Extinction Ahead

Protecting the Environment

Good lord, I think he means to kill us all!

This meme seems to have an eco-friendly message, and I applaud that…I guess. Truth be told, I’m not certain what the author is trying to say. As far as I can tell, there are only three ways to “create a world in which the environment doesn’t need protecting”.

  1. Pre-emptively destroy the environment, thereby making any conservation efforts utterly moot. No environment, no need to protect it, right? Unless the author of this meme is a member of the league of Eco-Villains, I doubt this is what he had in mind. There’s no maniacal laughter indicated after the original text (as in “Mwaaaa ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa!”), so I’m going to tentatively rule out this option.
  2. Teach everybody to live in harmony with nature, never using more than what is ecologically sustainable. Not to sound pessimistic, but forget it: it’s never gonna happen. The citizens of some developed nations (not calling any names) have become accustomed to a certain standard of living, and they’re not going to abandon it voluntarily. Unfortunately, the living standards we enjoy require a vast income of resources, and the poor environment often bears the brunt of our demands. Making conscious efforts to reduce our consumption of raw resources can certainly help, but no matter what, we’re always going to be butting heads with the environment on some front. As long as there are people who are not content to live in caves and/or trees, there will be a need to protect the environment, which leads me to…
  3. Destroy all humans. Okay, this option is tied for first place in the race for Most Disturbing Way to Preserve the Environment. As with option 1, I will tentatively assume the author is not calling for a planetary holocaust.

So I guess the author intends for all people to live a life whose ecological footprint is so small that we have no need for environmental regulations. Sorry, but I just don’t see how that’s feasible. Environmental protection is more of a journey than a destination. We’ll get better at it (hopefully), but there will never be a time (prior to our own extinction, which will hopefully come later rather than sooner) when the environment doesn’t need us to protect it…from us. The meme seems naively hopeful in that regard. If I were to rewrite the meme in a more realistic way, I’d say: I DO want to protect the environment, and I’m pretty certain it can be done. BUT, doing so will require us – all of us – to make some reasonable assessments about what we can and cannot live without. Technologies we haven’t even dreamed of will have to be developed so we can work with the environment instead of against it. It won’t be easy, but in the long run it’s our best bet.

I guess that’s a bit wordy for a meme. Oh well, I’ll work on it.

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