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Why is it some people can’t wrap their mind around the idea that human activities affect the environment?

Question by heeltap: Why is it some people can’t wrap their mind around the idea that human activities affect the environment?
That human population expansion and demands for greater economic development and growth leads to habitat destruction, resource depletion, and species extinction is one of the widely accepted generalizations found in all text books on Ecology and the indisputable evidence supporting the generalization are just overwhelming whether or not you have any education in modern science. For example, many primitive indigenous cultures know how true the generalization is. TWH 06042007-6
Global cooling of the 70’s is still around because particulate pollution is still around. The reflection of certain frequencies of solar energy has helped to offset the absorption and retention of other frequencies of the solar spectrum and may have masked the problem of solar warming leading to adverse climate changes. Understanding the problem in terms of the energy(radiation/absorption/reflection/accumulation) distribution dynamics of the atmosphere is not easy to explain in a simple manner.
Mike all human beings have preconceptions incl you and me. Intuition might be a better name. But good science is supposed to weed out the preconceptions to get to the facts. I think that the preponderance of the evidence points to adverse climate changes are coming and that part of the contributory cause is human activites that do not properly consider the impact that those activities have on the way complex natural systems like the atmosphere work. Try harder to understand the problem and consider the consequences if humans don’t change their energy consumption, and the waste-and-pollution-generating patterns to preserve bio-diversity and healthy ecosystems.
baypoint post is very thoughtful and the way caring people worry. I am almost 56 and I have no children of my own but my siblings and friends do and I know they, like you and me, care about future generations.
I believe that acute, abrupt climate changes are coming because of the polluting economic activities of 6.5 billion humans. The changes that will come in the dynamics of the atmosphere and hydosphere will come so fast, too fast that many species will die out and this will cause entire eco-systems to disappear. Maybe, if the changes were to occur more gradually, then species and eco-systems could have the time to adapt and evolve. Nature has different, longer time frames than we humans like. Life forms and habitats adapt to changes in the environment. New living conditions on the planet should not be the results of unplanned, uncontrolled human progress because we have no real understanding of where evolutionary processes will take us and because there is no fallback. We could end up extinguishing ourselves by being ignorant and arrogant about the position and role of the human species in the scheme of things and the theme of evolving life on the planet and in the universe.
Maybe the coming climate changes will be on balance good for humans, but maybe on balance they could hurt us. Some species win:others will lose. Either way given the uncertainty we humans face and the current limits of our knowledge and understanding, we should act cautiously and err on the conservative side and do all we can to reduce our impact on the environment for the sake of future generations and the future of humankind. Like Pascal’s bet that it is better to believe in and behave as if there is a God and salvation in an afterlife is possible, humans should believe and act as if we can understand,control , and reduce the damage our economic activities have on the Earths atmosphere. To not do so would be foolish and contrary to the long term interests of humanity in an absolutely amazing evolving universe.
alleninthehills ==>QED
lilzoo , you are correct in saying we are part of nature and that given the fact that we are conscious and have a conscience, it is incumbent on us to be a good part of nature and act responsibly caring for each other and the rest of nature which we all depend upon in ways we do not yet fully understand or appreciate.
TWH 06112007-1.
Mike, this is not a left vs right issue, it is a good science issue which requires we act on the side of caution until we correct the global problem through the practice of democratic political statemanship at home and cooperative diplomacy worldwide. Bringing up environmental problems in the context of politics as a left-vs-right-issue only triggers further waste of time when we humans may not have the time to waste. Scientists have given us their best efforts and our political leaders had better get cracking and put all partisan and ideological bickering aside or they will be removed from office next elections as the weather problems worsen. TWH 06112007-2
byderule, baypointmike, raji and oliveoyl163, I liked all of your answers and all made good points, but the winner is the answer that points to the ignorance about the facts of life about human beings living in a miraculous natural world . Technology will not save us from ourselves, a change in perspective and attitude might. I hope all agree with my pick for best A and join me in congratulating him for hiiting the nail’s head.,

Best answer:

Answer by Man
I don’t want to be rude but to put it simply they’re dumb.

The world and time is a huge system that some people will never fully understand.

Give your answer to this question below!

Posted in Human Ecology and tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

18 comments on “Why is it some people can’t wrap their mind around the idea that human activities affect the environment?

  • b/c people like to get high…. now what!?! lol i dont even know wat the question was

  • They’re in denial. It’s easier to appease your conscience if you dismiss it.

  • You’re right…I agree. BUT it’s not only humans…It’s also nature…

    Humans are just speeding up the process. The problem is, not many think so. Many I have heard thinks that it just nature taking it’s coarse & there is nothing the human race can do about it…That’s where everyone is wrong(in my opinion). It’s just common sense to take care of what you’ve got…Every little bit DOES help. Good luck trying to get “other” people to understand that…Take care & God bless.

  • Well then tell me this. What happened to


    of the 1970’s?

    Those very same things of “today” were causing

    GLOBAL COOLING in the 1970’s!!!!

  • A more accurate statement is how much effect human activities have on the environment.

    Both extremes left and right select data that supports their preconceived opinions and discard everything that does not support their pre conceived opinions and then they engage in unenlightening and time wasting propaganda battles that solve nothing and provide no new information.

  • they are strong headed

  • yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees
    That is what i ask as well why why why
    Why cant people accept that we humans have caused devastating destruction all over the planet .

    And not just for the last 50 years ,the Sahara used to be forrests (,but you cant deforrest on the equator because you cant replant under that hot a sun.It is now growing 7 miles per year burning the edges .
    The building of Spanish Armada made Spain a dessert country as the Phoenicians deforested Lebanon for their trading fleet.

    Ghengas Kahn burned everything(cities ,agriculture,forrests ) and filled all the wells with sand ,turning vast teritories into desserts.
    Large parts of the world are turned into deserts because of irresponsible farming,overpumping carbon Aquifers ,over grazing ,deforestation,all causing desertification.

    I have been in the jungles of Oaxaca and discussed with the Natives the mountain before us ,Mostly deforrested ,scarred by landslides and dotted with madly steep corn patches (which only produced for 3 years ),and devoid of clouds.

    They all agreed that the days were hotter ,there was less rain ,And the river was bigger (now dry part of the year.)then when they were boys ,

    In the desperate plight to feed their enormous families of avarage 12 kids per family ,often much more ,they had destroyed their home ground with indisputable climate changes.

    In Africa I have seen lush wooded lands change into dessert within a few years by large invading comunities ,who devoured the trees for building and firewood ending up in a dessert with out water
    and with a hot sun under which no new plantation was possible.

    Granted the climatic changes are local ,but effects neighboring areas ,there is less rainfall, rivers dry up ,

    BUT these things are happening ALL over the world and nobody can convince me that COLLECTIVELY this does NOT effect the Global climate
    Global precipitation,Global temperatures,Global water supplies ,Global everything.

    Millions of hectares are lost because of the roads systems ,expanding population and the resulting settlements.

    Mexico looses half a million hectares per year in the quest for Ethanol and this is happening in Africa ,Borneo,Malasia,etc and will become much much more ,when America passes a new bill about the production of Ethanol ,

    Replacing indigenous forrests wiping out all the wild life and bio diversity and replacing it with monoculture plantations grown with fertilizers that will only have plagues of insects as inhabitants,which will be combatted with Pesticides .The natural soil balance will be destroyed and continued growth will only be possible with chemicals .

    Humans ARE contaminating ,the Air,the Soil and Waters.This evidence is for all to see all over the world ,
    And cannot be whitewashed with claims that humanity is inocent .

    OVERPOPULATION puts pressures on all Natural resources and increases all the bad side effects of Humanity such as deminishing the overall bio mass and wide spread polution

    Why dont they want to look after Nature ,it is where all the conditions that makes life pleasant and possible for us comes from ?Air ,Food ,Water to grow food and to make beer with ,and most of all a bearable climate ,not to mention the absorbsion of harmfull gasses.

    Why dont they want to keep the neighborhood clean so their kids dont have to play in the trash ,?

    Why do they want to kill animals ?

  • Because then they would be accountable for their contribution to harming the environment.

  • It makes people feel guilty so they subconsciously delude themselves into believing it doesn’t exist.

  • Excellent Question! I wish I knew the answer.
    I read all the replies and found all of them insighful and most of them new to me. So, even I, well over 55 years old, can still learn. I hope someone comes out with an answer that, like they say in the movies “blows us all apart!”
    It’s irrelevant to worry about population explosion, the question at hand is: “Will the Human Race survive?”

    We know the Polar Bear, penguins and whales are on their path to extinction, most probably regardless what we do. The human race will not survive if some large minority refuses to do their part. Remember the “Ozone Layer Hole”? It would still be around if even one major nation allowed production of Freon. In this one, we either all survive, or none.
    But, being over 55, my main interest is the survival of my sons and their children. Their life depends on what we all do.
    On this one, there is no such a thing as “my side of the boat.”

  • I know right, look at a photo, we look like a disease, we have a huge impact on the environment

  • Have a star my friend…

    if people are going to breed, they should be put through rigorous testing. They kill their grandkids to feed their kids.

  • probably because the fact that we are harming our environment and will someday reap unimaginable consequences has been magically and SURPRISINGLY transformed into a partisan issue. Which putts brother against brother in the civil disagreement of the friggin’ century. we are addicted to our consumer driven lifestyle and most people probably think that to be green that you are part of some enviro eco-marxist cult living off the grid. (i’d like to vacation or retire there). Not to mention that there are (i should say were) opposing view points in the scientific communtiy. Still others mistake the issue as an issue of faith. “do you BELIVE in global warming?”

  • Because it is a lie, and you have bought into that lie hook, line, and sinker. Have a nice Day!!!!!

  • I don’t know that they teach that course in high school or college.

  • Raji the Green Witch

    September 6, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    The problems are simply TOO huge and overwhelming for the average person. That person just looks at what’s happenning and resigns to the idea that there’s nothing that he/she can do about it so why even bother. That person does NOT realize that he is a PART of the problem ( a tiny part but still a part). If each person were to realize that he/she WAS a tiny part of the overall problem then they could begin by trying to SOLVE that tiny part of the problem by doing whatever they could, no matter HOW small and insignificant. There are 5 billion people on the globe and if ALL 5 billion of us were to do JUST our tiny little part it would ALL add up to be a MAJOR step in the right direction. THAT is the intent of this yahoo answers thing, to let EACH of us discover that there are a LOT of us that have the SAME concerns. that if we AL act together and do our small part it WILL add up to a HUGE impact on resloving these issues. the idea IS, for us to find the BEST ideas that WE as individuals can do, copy them down and distribute them to as MANY people as we can… In otrher words, WE have to educate those who either do NOT have access to computers or haven’t found this site or been interested enough to browse through it.. If you’ve noticed, this site is NOT just about the environment, it also includes religion, natural healing and many other topics that are of importance to people around the world. The basic idea is for us ALL to educate one another HERE about our differences and also to FIND what we have in common and use that comonality to build a bridge between ALL of our different cultures and beliefs. Many of us are focused on ONE single topic (eg, Global Warming) others are focusing on a wide range of topics, like myself (Religion, Natural healing, Global Warming and the Environment). At first, a LOT of jerks were using this as a soapbox to spout off their hatreds and prejudices, over time many of the jerks have changed their tunes and Come around to realize that we ARE all in this together. At one time many folks considered the Erath to be “Spaceship” Earth. NOW, many are beginning to realize that the Earth is NOT a “spaceship” but rather a “Lifeboat”, there are only SO many survival supplies on this lifeboat and if we ALL want to continue to exist then we as a WHOLE have to figure out a way to “share the supplies” in a more equitible fashion. If this “lifeboat’ falls apart, EVERYONE’S going to suffer, not just Republicans, Not just Democrats, not just Rich, not just Poor, not just Christians not just non-Christians, not just any one group is going to suffer, and not just ONE group is going to make it through unscathed. What happens to ONE will happen to ALL. Nature knows no boundaries, no religious beliefs, no socio-economic status, no sex, no race. Nature just IS and as we mess with and injure nature, nature takes her own course of action to find an equilibrium. If that equilibrium means the destruction of mankind then that’s the way it IS and nothing personal about it. The good are going to sink along with the bad. That is why WE as a group, on this site HAVE to come together, find common ground and come up with our OWN solutions. Government isn’t going to do it for us, religion isn’t going to do it for us, the rich aren’t going to either. It’s ONLY us, and WE have to get the rest of humanity on board and do so FAST. So READ, LEARN, DISCUSS, fidn ideas and put them into daily use, and TEACH everyone you know about the ideas that REALLY work and throw the bad ideas out. BE kind, be gentle, be loving to the skeptics. HELP them to discover the truths that are in here. If we CAN’T convince our OWN skeptics then we certainly will NOT be able to convince the REST of them that aren’t even ON this site and we’ll have LOST the battle before it’s even begun. Be persuasive in your arguments withour being rude or pushy. Kill them with kindness and gentleness and HELP them to SEE that the problems ARE real and that, working together, we CAN make a difference. Slowl at first but, as more and more get on board it WILL accelorate and we just MIGHT be able to turn this whole thing around.there are plenty of folks here that truly KNOW a lot about the problems. Some even have some GOOD ideas, I’ve come up with some knowledge and a few good ideas. But we ALSO need motivators and “cheerleaders” as well. folks to simply tell you that you’re on the right track and to keep up the good work. There’s a role for everyone in here. Find your niche, discover what it IS that you are best at and use that to communicate with people and solve problems. If you just do that you TOO will be part of the solution and not just a part of the problem.

    Brightest Blessings
    Raji the Green Witch

  • Because humans don’t consider themselves as part of the environment (most don’t). Humans forget that we are mammals and part of the food chain. Just because we walk upright and drive cars doesn’t mean we are part of the ecosystem.

  • Some peoples are selfish. They only think of money,luxury and themselves. They don’t think of others.
    Sometimes, people are aware but they do not know that their activities are affecting environment.
    Some people are not aware and may be illiterate.

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