1. They saw it coming

Progress and emotional intelligenceToday there is no shortage of concerned citizens alerting us to ecological warning signs, but scientific research into overconfident apathy is not forthcoming. Possibly, those who fund such projects have not been given convincing proof that this area has content of real and significant value. The enigma has nonetheless been noted with growing frequency. Protesting environmental degradation, Sarah Parkin of the U.K. Green Party, is quoted by Sandra Postel in the Worldwatch Institute's 1992 State of The World : 1

    Our numbness, our silence, our lack of outrage, could mean we end up the only species to have minutely monitored our own extinction. What a measly epitaph that would make: "they saw it coming but had not the wit to stop it happening."

In this State of the World report on the tendency of the industrialized world to "deny the severity of environmental threats," Postel raises the issue of behavior:

    Psychology as much as science will thus determine the planet's fate because action depends on overcoming denial, among the most paralyzing of human responses. While it affects most of us to varying degrees, denial often runs particularly deep among those with heavy stakes in the status quo, including the political and business leaders with power to shape the global agenda.

Why bring the mind into this? Because there is no satisfactory answer to the question that if the fully rational mind is an ideal instrument, why has it given us global warming, ozone holes and unsustainable societies? Or from another perspective the Bomb, systematic extermination of humans by humans, and apartheid?

A reverse look at human progress could provide some answers.

Postel, Sandra. “Denial in the Decisive Decade” State of The World 1992, A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society(1992): p4, p8.