Welcome to Our April Issue
What is it about human nature that keeps us from doing what is in our own best interest? When it comes to eating right, getting proper rest, exercising and dealing with stress, I seem to be endlessly trying to get back on track. I sometimes have to kick myself into doing the right thing, even though once I do it, I know is was the wisest choice. Do we not know ourselves well enough to not know what is best for us, or are we, like I am, stubborn and set in our ways?
Our environment is a great example. I am reading the book Collapse by Jared Diamond that gives a detailed account of societies and their choices to fail or succeed throughout history. From the Polynesians on Easter Island to the Mayans in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula to the Norse in Greenland, great human civilizations have collapsed due to ignoring warning signs that the environment could no longer sustain their way of life.
Whether rising seas, reduced polar ice caps and glaciers or toxic mining retention ponds that our great grandkids will inherit, the signs are there. Yet we still we pump toxic chemicals into the ground, emit tons of pollution into the air and thoughtlessly toss plastic one-use stuff that ends up in the Pacific Ocean (watch Plastic Paradise on Netflix). Our actions are killing many beneficial species, including the most vulnerable organisms that humans need to survive. From honeybees to coral reefs, there is not one ecosystem on this planet that is not in decline, and that is not really debatable.
Another interesting book I just finished by Joseph M. Marshall III, of the Native American Lakota tribe, sums up the attitudes of two competing cultures. When the Lakota people saw the grandeur of the Western frontier after being forced off their traditional lands in Minnesota, they determined to live in harmony with its natural beauty. When the Euro-Americans saw the grandeur of the West, they saw economic opportunity. Maybe it’s time we compromise, and seek harmonious opportunity. It is in our best interest in the long run.