I know information about several neighbors. Here in a small nutshell are three of them.
Neighbor one supports himself by selling and laying down pesticides. It is a subject about which he knows job-wise. He also knows that he is dispensing poisons that contaminate the air, soil and water supply.
Indeed when spraying, he wears protective gear that makes him look as if he is prepared for Armageddon. He had headgear and much more covering his whole body. Yet what would happen were he to give up his job due to a sense of conscience?
He would lose his house, ability to pay taxes, capability to pay utility bills, capacity to afford groceries and more. So he does the job that he knows as he has to fit into the economy in the way that it is set up and according to his job skills/knowledge. Otherwise if he refuses the work, someone else will step forward to do it if he quits.
Neighbor two works in a warehouse every five nights a week. He loads goods raped from the natural world to load into a truck and moves items around in a forklift (I.e., a carbon loading , fossil fuel using machine). He stays up seven nights a week to not disrupt his sleep pattern of being awake at night.
Ergo, he rarely sees his wife and two children. Meanwhile, his spouse stays home to feed the children, get them on and off of school buses, clean house and so on.
In addition, his garage is falling apart. What a shame that he hasn’t enough money to fix it and I see his home from mine with a few lights on during the few nights that he is home.
The third neighbor has a landscaping and lawn care company. His people in the company ride around on gasoline using lawnmowers, drive around in trucks to get plants for people’s gardens, put down dangerous fertilizers, etc.
None of these threesome know the way to change. After all, they have to keep their personal and possibly perilous lives intact by fitting into the current economic setup, which is obviously detrimental in the extreme.
Indeed, the same old story has always taken place with our type of species and the way that the almost timeless economies are set up. The thinking as often is the case is my gain is your loss. Too bad for you (with no real caring intended for you or the natural world as our kind continues to ravage the world and contend with other people).
The way out of the conundrum might exist:
So we just have to get use to the idea of scaling back to have a sustainable economy in a finite world. Personally I am in favor of transition towns. We can’t keep raping the natural world in an ever higher amount.
In the end, the economic setup is about many humans making as much money as possible by grabbing resources. Then they are doing whatever is required to enhance chances to make a literal and a figurative killing by scotching the competition and going after means to get personally ahead.
Regarding myself, I do not blame the economy for this deep trouble that is gradually ruining the natural world and the lives of others through climate change, resource depletion and poverty. Instead I blame evolution that set people up to survive in one’s optimal state by taking ever more for one’s own group and oneself.
Sally Dugman lives in MA, USA.