Letter to the editor: Why do humans wait for a crisis before acting? | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Why do humans wait for a crisis before acting?

Joel R. Schwartzman

What is it in human nature that makes us wait until matters become crises before we get motivated to act? Given the smoke that we in the mountains have been suffering and that made Denver’s air the very worst in the entire world, perhaps people will take more seriously the articles that are pointing to climate change and the need for humanity to pull itself together before it is too late. For years we have known, but only now, with enormous wildfires raging in California and our air being fouled to the point where breathing is a strain, are we reeling from the dangers we humans have brought upon ourselves.

The same unfortunately holds true for the delta variant of COVID-19. Too many people resisted getting vaccinated, but now that thousands more have fallen victim to the virus, they are scurrying to get shots. For some, it is too late. They will sicken and die before the vaccine has time to work.

We face the same kinds of existential threats when it comes to tackling nuclear weapons, space wars, worldwide food and water shortages, and AI run rampant without treaties and agreements to control it. Is it obstinacy, laziness or just wishful thinking that leads us to procrastinate until we are either on the verge of or are having to deal in full-scale, calamitous mode?

Well before COVID-19 was taking thousands of lives, I issued a warning in this very newspaper. Anyone could see what was coming, and yet it was only a few who took adequate preventative measures.

When will we awake to the fact that life is precious? When will we get to doing what is necessary to protect life and not squander what we have left?

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