Self or all?
Selfishness or altruism?

In 2018 it has become more obvious than ever that if our planet is to have a viable future humanity must behave in ways that consider the whole biosphere rather than ways that aim simply to look after the individual, the family, the tribe, the community or the nation.

This page written 2018/04/30, modified 2018/06/15 – ©
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke)

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The Clare hills, South Australia
Clare panorama
With climate change, how long will this scene remain as it is?
Photo taken 2005/09/27

Examples of selfish as against altruistic behaviour:
Personal scale
Our vehiclesChoose a noisy motorbike or modify a car to make its exhaust noisy because you like the sound Choose a quiet vehicle because you don't want to annoy all the people who will hear it
Throw rubbish out of the car window onto the roadside because that is the easiest thing to do Dispose of your rubbish responsibly
Travel Whatever is easiest Consider the environmental implications of you actions: walk, ride a bike or use public transport when practical to minimise your environmental impact.
Consumption Buy anything you like with no consideration for how long it will last or its environmental impacts during production or disposal. Consider where the things you buy were made, how they were made, how long they will last and how they will be disposed of at the end of their useful lives. Consider the lifetime environmental implications of the things you buy.
Take away coffee Get a throwaway coffee cup because it is the easiest thing to do Buy yourself a 'keepcup' and get that filled when you want a coffee (see Responsible Mid-North) so that you don't add to the amount of rubbish going to landfill.
A wind farm is proposed nearby Object because you don't want to have to see nearby turbines or sometimes hear them (an example is below). Support the project because it will displace electricity generated by burning fossil fuels, it will provide local employment, work for local contractors and businesses, income for the turbine-hosting farmers and a generous community enhancement fund.
Election Vote for the party that promises you the most (the biggest tax cuts, the best services). Vote for the party that you feel looks after everyone fairly and considers the future (of the planet and coming generations of people).

National scale
Australia has huge resources in both coal and renewable energy The coal industry is well established, is supported by monied interests, and brings in export income. A government also supporting it seems to be the best option for the short term (so long as they don't look at the long term, the international or environmental implications). A government looking after only itself will not concern itself much with any consequences of its actions that will come after its term in office. Urgently develop renewable energy to replace the coal industry because the latter is one of the main causes of climate change, ocean acidification and causes a huge number of deaths and illnesses due to the air pollution resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.
Climate change President Trump took the USA out of the Paris Accord (which aims to limit climate changing emissions) because he saw that as being in the short-term financial interest of the country. Almost all other nations that joined in the Paris Accord have remained in because of the recognised need for serious action on climate change.
Australia's Abbott and Turnbull governments have done their best to slow the development of renewable energy; apparently because that was in the interest of the big mining businesses that funded the governing parties, the Liberal/National Coalition Supporting the fastest possible growth of renewable energy and speeding the closing of coal mines and coal fired power stations would be the best course for the long-term advantage of Australia and for the future of the planet.

Donating blood plasma
Donating plasma

A small altruistic act

Donating blood or plasma (photo on the right) is altruistic. At the time I took the photo I was told that only one in thirty Australians donate blood or blood products, yet it is easy, takes only an hour or so and is practically painless.

Why are so few people willing to make this very small contribution to their community?

The other extreme, a very selfish act

My wife and I have a home in Crystal Brook in the Mid North region of South Australia. In July 2018 we are waiting on a decision by the state government to either allow or disallow the building of an Energy Park that, if built, will combine a wind farm, a solar farm, a 'big battery' and possibly a hydrogen generating facility.

Unfortunately there is a vocal and dishonest opposition group. Should the opponents manage to stop the development:

  • they will be able to tell their grandchildren that their efforts increased the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere by 600,000 tonnes per year more than it needed to be;
  • they’ll be able to say they stopped a project that would have had great advantages to the community, the region, the state, the nation and the world;
  • they should tell their grandchildren that they were motivated by selfishness;
  • and they could admit that the methods they used were deceit, misinformation, exaggeration and downright lies.
Perhaps the best thing I've ever done is to make a sustained effort to provide the facts and debunk and expose the lies about wind power. I fear that my efforts have had only limited success in my own home town!

Related pages

A number of related pages are linked to in the text.

Why support wind power
Walking for climate change awareness: cleaning up the roadsides at the same time
Responsible cafes: choose to reuse
Personal contribution to society