This page lists clues to possible answers to my question why is so little being done so late about saving the planet and humanity? (hereafter simply ‘the question’)

Since I wrote the opening page and started telling my friends about it, they gave me help in one way or another for which I am truly grateful. Also, I stumble onto clues. In all, they pile up to such an extend that I don’t have time to give them all an immediate follow-up. To show you where they go and to remind myself I am keeping this list.

The evolutionary basis for planetary bad behaviour

A dear friend of mine, pointed me to an article in a scientific journal (reference below) that lists five propensities that evolution brought to human nature which are causes or amplifiers of environmental and social problems. I haven’t had time to read the article but evolutionary psychology and sociology may be interesting avenues to find answers to the question.

The basic answer would be that humanity is slow to respond to current problems because evolution has not prepared us for this situation. After all it is the first time – as far as we know – that we are making such a mess on a planetary scale. In evolutionary terms: we have never before been in a situation where we changed our social and natural environment to such an extent that it may become necessary to adapt (evolution-wise, as opposed to action-wise) to them. If so, then evolutionary theory tells us that if we don’t we will not survive as a species and if we do, or sufficiently so, then we will survive. Of course, this is on an evolutionary time scale, which means that none of us will live long enough to know the outcome.

I’m sure that the authors of this article are aware of this because they also explain how people who want to do something about the environmental and social problems can take these five propensities into account. I.e. they focus on action-wise adaptation as quick-fix (‘quick’ in evolutionary terms).

If you google for the reference below, you will find that this is not a one-of article but part of an academic discussion. So ample food for follow-up.

  • Griskevicius V., CantúS.M., and Van Vugt, M. (2012). ‘The Evolutionary Bases for Sustainable Behavior: Implications for Marketing, Policy, and Social Entrepreneurship.’ In Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 31 (1), pp. 115–128.


The day the earth stood still

Today (1 August 2017) I saw the movie from 2008 again. In short, it says: we can change, and we do when we are on the brink of disaster. The case of the ozone layer and the case of ‘sour rain’, both from the 1980s, give some real-world proof for this. Perhaps we can count the 2015 Paris agreement here as well. Perhaps not, of course. Time will tell.

The movie’s message is not an answer but begging the question. Why do we have to reach the brink of disaster before we really start doing something?

The 2008 version is a remake of the 1951 original, which in turn was based on a book from 1940. Out of curiosity, I am wondering Is the plot of the 1951 version the same? A quick read in IMDB says it is not. In 1951 the alien does not want to save the planet from humanity but wants humanity to stop their wars.

I could dig deeper into this, but for now just another point. Perhaps it would be interesting to find more movies with answers to the question. Or better yet to see how movies and other forms of art relate to it. One example (another lead): the recent attention to plastic waste in the media seems to be related to two art projects that really pushed the topic upwards in our attention: the photos of dead and decaying birds showing the piles of plastic where their intestines used to be, and the plastic art from the plastic ‘Sargasso seas’ in the hearts of circular ocean currents.

Micro leads

It’s worse than I thought … I don’t even have time to keep up my list of leads. So here are the micro leads

  • The work of Frans de Waal who became famous for his work on Chimpanzee politics.
  • ‘Global weirding’.
  • Per Espen Stoknes (2015) What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action (Tip from M. in the bus from Hamburg to Lund.)
  • Gunter Pauli (2004) The blue economy. (Another tip from M.)
    A day after receiving this tip, I found out that the World Bank and UN DESApublished a report titled ‘The Potential of the Blue Economy : Increasing long-term benefits of the sustainable use of marine resources for Small Island Developing States and Coastal Least-Developed Countries’.
  • Stone paper (Yet another from M.)