Environmentally aware people are hoping that the toxic spill of oil from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico will have some positive impact... that this time, for sure, people will suddenly wake up and change their oily habits. Hmmm. Consider the recent earthquake in Haiti. For days it was all the mass commercial media could talk about... already a distant fading memory. I predict that this oil calamity will be long forgotten, as soon as the rupture can be staunched. A few soapy birds... Then the show will go on with other stories - for a while longer... The show must go on. The masses believe it will.
Every effort will be made by those who can pay or wrangle their way, to maintain the creature comforts of civilization for as long as possible... irregardless of spills or cost. Systems will be patched and propped and ingenuity will be applied... but despite all the efforts and prayers of the 'civilized', increasingly insurmountable problems with declining resources (such as Peak Oil) and toxic effluents (such as Catastrophic Climate Changes and Mass Extinction) will ensue.
The notion that we are highly organized, and can act with mutual intelligence seems to me to be vastly overblown. Essentially, for all the political hoopla and adoration of VIP's -- we are essentially living in global anarchy. A massive mess of individuals going about their lives, doing the best they can given their circumstances. Circumstances which they did not create and do not control. The combined past and present actions of all of humanity's individuals, disorganized and frequently in ignorance... is the creator, the controller.
Politicians follow the masses -- winning elections by telling people what they want to hear. They say the show will go on. They speak from the distance, way up high. People bow low, cooing in dreamy comfort. Everything is safe, the people are told reassuringly.
They should smile and be happy. Everything is under control. Hmmm. Really?
Occasionally leaders who see the world without delusion arise and pioneer in new directions. But to tell the truth they must swim against the flow of lies... leaders, to break new ground, must take the risk of saying things people are not comfortable with... since people generally prefer the familiar, and fear the unknown. Leaders break taboos, and face ostracism. Politicians are not, and cannot be leaders. Leaders guide us away from the familiar, politicians promise more and more of it.
We can't count on politicians to save humanity. We need many individuals waking up to their roles as leaders, breaking new ground -- making those wake up calls. Maybe our anarchy can be shaped a bit more intelligently and shoved hard enough to survive.