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When It Comes to Sustainability, We’re a Society of Distracted Drivers

When It Comes to Sustainability, We’re a Society of Distracted Drivers

We human beings are all, in effect, driving this planet 

If we’re asleep at the wheel, the likelihood of calamity skyrockets.(Photo: Screenshot)

“If we’re asleep at the wheel,” writes Heinberg, “the likelihood of calamity skyrockets.” (Photo: St. Joseph Health/stock)

Driving is dangerous. In fact, it’s about the riskiest activity most of us engage in routinely. It requires one’s full attention—and even then, things can sometimes go horribly awry. The brakes fail. Weather turns roads to ice. A driver in the oncoming lane falls asleep. Tragedy ensues. But if we’re asleep at the wheel, the likelihood of calamity skyrockets. That’s why distracted driving is legally discouraged: no cell phones, no reading newspapers or books, no hanky-panky with the front-seat passenger. If you’re caught, there’s a hefty fine.

“The economy, entertainment, jobs, sports, and politics are all fine and suitable objects of attention—as long as we first ensure that society’s speed and direction are safe and sane.”If you think you hear a metaphor coming, you’re right. We human beings are all, in effect, driving this planet. We’re largely responsible for whether it continues more or less as it is for another few thousand (maybe a few million) years, or tips rapidly into a condition that may not support human life, nor permit the survival of myriads of other creatures. But we’re not paying attention to the road in front of us. Instead, we’re distracted.

Our personal distractions are often compelling. Most of us need to make a living. We like to make time for family and friends. We enjoy a wide range of entertainment options.

Our collective distractions seem just as important. We want the economy to grow so that there are more jobs and higher returns on investments.

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