photo: Leonardo Freitas
Every once in a while I come across a piece of writing that states something so perfectly that I really can’t imagine adding anything to it. What follows is by Carl Safina, co-founder and president of Blue Ocean Institute, and is from a recent post on the Orion Magazine website.
Please read the whole piece (it’s short...), but here’s the passage that really struck me. Safina is writing about the notion of having to make sacrifices for the betterment of the planet and for society:
Of all the psychopathology in the climate issue, the most counterproductive thought is that solving the problem will require sacrifice. As though our wastefulness of energy and money is not sacrifice. As though war built around oil is not sacrifice. As though losing polar bears, ice-dependent penguins, coral reefs, and thousands of other living companions is not sacrifice.
As though withered cropland is not a sacrifice, or letting the fresh water of cities dry up as glacier-fed rivers shrink. As though risking seawater inundation and the displacement of hundreds of millions of coastal people is not a sacrifice—and reckless risk. But don’t tell me to own a more efficient car; that would be a sacrifice! We think we don’t want to sacrifice, but sacrifice is exactly what we’re doing by perpetuating problems that only get worse; we’re sacrificing our money, and sacrificing what is big and permanent, to prolong what is small, temporary, and harmful. We’re sacrificing animals, peace, and children to retain wastefulness while enriching those who disdain us.
When we stop seeing our relationship with the whole living world as a matter of sustainability, and realize it is a matter of morality—of right and wrong—we might make the moment we need.