Everybody knows the bad news: Conflicts between ideological, religious, tribal and political groups take innocent lives every day in nearly every nation across the planet. Wilderness and wildlife habitat are, on most continents, now limited to a few small parcels of land where our most photogenic species are preserved. That’s a shame. The oceans could be, in our lifetimes, fished out and our beautiful coral reefs are declining at unprecedented rates. Damn.
And, of course, Global warming threatens our very habitat.
Worse yet, our abuse of the planet is accelerating – so far.
So why do I feel proud of humanity? Why am I optimistic?
Because today, in the midst of so many pressing issues, I sense that we have started solving what may be, for our species or any species, the ultimate riddle. Millions of people are consciously making changes in their lives so that they will use less of the planet’s resources. That’s never happened before. This is the first time any living creature has confronted this problem.
Millions of people are taking it on by changing their buying habits. The Toyota Prius and other clean, fuel-efficient automobiles are selling so fast the manufacturers can’t keep up. Organic products are in every major supermarket, today, and huge mass-marketers like Wal-Mart are the largest distributors of organics, so it’s not an elitist phenomenon.
The richest man in China made his money selling solar panels. That’s right. Solar panels.