Until now, it seems to have been easier for us to empathize with the climate plight of other species than our own, perhaps because we have such a hard time acknowledging or understanding our own responsibility and complicity in the changes now unfolding, and such an easier time evaluating the morally simpler calculus of pure victimhood.
Wallace-Wells, David. The Uninhabitable Earth (p. 35). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.
It has been opined that people care more about their pets, their dogs and cats, than they do their fellow human beings. Dogs, in particular, love us humans unconditionally while other human beings are always problematic and demand more from us in many ways.
And so the “tree huggers” are subject to mocking and derision because of their hypocrisy. Their love of nature and desire to protect it seems childish in the midst of the human-caused devastation they are subject to. As they say in Alcoholic Anonymous, maybe we should be taking our own inventory and not the inventory of other species.
As Wallace-Wells points out it is much easier to sympathize with the victim than the victimizer. Focusing on the victim allows the victimizer to escape scrutiny and evaluation. Perhaps it is time for us to take responsibility for our own behavior and care for it rather than redirect our concern and distract ourselves with sympathy for other species which are being destroyed by our own behavior and policies.
Taking responsibility for ourselves is a huge challenge and facing up to what we have done and are doing takes courage and humility which seem to be in short supply for most of humanity as represented by their politicians.
Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. It is interesting how interspecies justice, equity, and compassion are left out of this principle. Is this unintentional or intentional? In Alcoholic Anonymous they say, “first things first.” The first thing we have to address if we are to deal effectively with the climate change on the planet is our own behavior and policies. Will we face up to what we have done, take responsibility, and fix it? The jury is still out deliberating this question and eco-systems conducive to human life and the life of other species depends on the decision.