I’m busy editing articles today and don’t have the time for a long entry, but I thought I’d just share a quick thought with you here.
I sometimes read that environmentally concerned people are worried that the often negative and emotion-based pleas of activist groups — while effective in sounding the alarm — lead to complacency among most of the general population. After hearing bad news, a certain subset of the population will immediately respond to a call to action, but many more will sort of just tune it out (e.g., click past the TV channels showing starving kids in the Africa).
I have two ideas to get past this that I’ll elaborate on later , but for now they are these:
1) Organize today’s retired people, the seniors, into an internet-based network of researchers and activists to move things along. They should be the “stewards” in our society, free at last from having to spend most of their days working and raising a family, what better way to invest their energy than in caring for the planet and helping protect it for the benefit of their grandchildren. I see them being akin to the “tribal elders” of indigenous societies, and they would work on the long-term issues while the stressed-out moms and dads in their 30s and 40s manage the short-term workweek realities. These elders would spend time educating the very young — the next generation — about ecological issues. I bet there are a lot of folks who would rather do that in their retirement years than just play golf, etc. (not to say that this is all they do currently.)
2) In place of (or in addition to) “home economics” courses in school, our young people should be taught “home ecology” by which I mean all the things individuals and families can do to lower emissions, rates of consumption, and otherwise make their “ecological footprint” smaller.
I think the combination of ideas 1 and 2 could have far-reaching consequences. Just my two cents.