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Am I affected?

Diane Rehm has a great one hour summary of the recent UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. They talk about the current sorry state of the earth's ecosystem and what it means.

As part of our project, we are asking our interviewees about what trends they see in the world right now, ecological or social, which affect them. People are having a hard time coming up with answers. It's not that they don't know a lot of the problems with what we are doing to our life-support systems, just that they don't see how it connects to them. Granted, we are interviewing people living in Sweden which seems to be quite isolated from where most of ecological damage is being done, but Sweden too has it's troubles (poisoned lakes, rivers and seas, urban sprawl, etc...).

I wonder if it would be any easier if they listened to this show first... Unfortunately, I think I know the answer. And, to tell the truth, when I went through the excersize myself, although I was able to identify a lot of trends which are having a profound negative impact on the earth, when I went back to ask myself "How does this affect me personally?", most of my answers were along the lines of "I just feel stupid contributing to it" or "If I should have kids, it would be very difficult for them to have even half the quality of life I have". There were relativly few issues with highly visible short-term effects. At least not enough to make me take any actions. I live a pretty dang comfortable life.

I wonder how long it will be before we, in the developing world, start to see the effects of our actions? Or, are the effects already all around us, just happening too slowly to recognize?

Anyway, I highly recommend listening to the show. It's only an hour. Please? for me?