We human beings are a confusing lot. On the one hand, we can sacrifice years of our lives to prepare for a personal challenge like climbing a mountain. We can survive prisoner of war camps under the most horrendous conditions. Yes, we truly are special.
I'm not saying I'm any better than anyone else in that department. I too drive when I could walk or bike. I too drive a gas guzzler when I could buy a more fuel efficient car. But like all of mankind, I will only change when I have to.
I know the one thing that will inspire me and my fellow man to change my atrocious habits: expensive gas. Very expensive gas. I'm talking gas that costs $10.00 per gallon.
If we collectively committed to a 20 year plan to increase prices dramatically, I'm certain we could convert this scary proposal into an opportunity. We would begin planning to make automobiles that would consume much less fuel and we would spin this as job creation. We would move closer to our work place. We would invest much more heavily in public transit.
But alas, it will not happen this way. We will only change our habits if we have to. That's when we perform best as a species. If our back is against the wall and we have no choice, we will do what we have to do.
Apparently, we're not smart enough to do it any other way. And who are we to call ourselves the dominant species just because we became "self conscious"?