As sure as Earth Day comes around every year, so too does the annual tradition of dumping on Earth Day. I did a fair share of that myself today, and other writers, like Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard, asked environmentalists to help "Unsuck Earth Day". But lest any of the incumbent gloom surrounding the environmentalist holiday get you down, here's a highly optimistic Earth Day-related video that should do the opposite. The premise in a nutshell: Technology, social media and collapsing global barriers are leading to a world with greatly increased empathy. And harnessing that empathy may be the best way to save our bioshpere. The ideas are sound -- the speaker is Jeffrey Rifkin, an author and political and social analyst -- and it is indeed true that there appears to be a trend where our empathic spheres are growing wider by the generation.
There are still serious problems -- as we've discussed many times before here on TH, it's turning out to be a lot harder to get people to be empathetic about certain calamities than others. Devastating earthquake in an undeveloped nation? Empathy pours in. Devastating flooding that was likely caused by a gradual warming of the Earth's climate? Not so much.
Still, it's an inspiring idea that our powers of empathy are being made all the more powerful, and that this will, in the end, allow us to tackle the various environmental and social problems that confront us.