I’m Not lazy, I have a Conservation Disability

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Sleeping - Laziness thwarts the Environmental Movement

Human beings can be very lazy creatures. That fact bears repeating because it is ultimately the core influence behind many of the numerous, seemingly distinct, issues that plague our species and our culture. In fact, we are a strange bunch indeed, as we will often go to any lengths to fulfil our never-ending quest for in-action. So much so, that the things we choose to do to feed our laid-back nature often end up being more arduous and involved than the thing we try to avoid. We can get very serious and single-minded about it, this avoidance of work. And anything we take that seriously must have some significance in the world we build. In this world we build, a lot of the stumbling blocks the environmental movement has to put up with are a result of laziness.

This slothful nature does a lot of harm, and messes up a lot of situations in our world which could have been averted or rectified given a smidgen of attention and a modicum of effort at the right time. But alas, the misdeeds have been done and the monster is out of the bag. The best we can do is to understand this fundamental human behaviour and its causes. The major causes of human laziness are:

  1. Laziness
  2. Yet more laziness
  3. I’m too lazy to come up with a third bullet-point

Laziness is just laziness

Laziness hinders the Environmental MovementThat’s right, laziness is just laziness. I might have gone ahead and carried out the charade of intended analysis and further study, but you and I both know that laziness can rarely be understood, or analysed, or itemised. Laziness is possibly the only fundamentally fundamental human emotion – it cannot be divided into any more refined or rarified reasons for its existence. It simply is.

Taking action is so much work

Sloth obstructs the Environmental MovementThere are a thousand responsible little tasks and gestures that we could be doing in our passing lives that we choose not to do, purely because we can choose not to do them. When we wake up in the morning and brush our teeth, we could choose to run the tap only when required, but instead we keep it gushing for the entirety of our dental cleansing performance, because it’s easier. When we are throwing out thrash, we could separate out the recycleable materials from the rest, but instead most of us dump everything into a single garbage bag, because it’s easier. We could, we might, we should, but the ground reality is that we don’t.

I’m a method writer

Laziness hinders the Environmental MovementSo strongly do I believe in seeping yourself in the subject matter of your writing and really getting into the head of the subject, that I might have caught the laziness bug myself. Just look around, I didn’t come up with clever bullet points, nor did I come up with witty illustrations to lighten the journey through this material. I’m just completely living my subject matter, and like most human beings out there, I’m sleeping on the job. Only because it’s appropriate to the task at hand, of course.

The point I’m trying to make through all this is that laziness doesn’t do anything quickly. In fact, it doesn’t do anything, period. Perhaps it is the smallest, indivisible mass of human behaviour, a sort of atom of the mind. But really it’s not. Rather, laziness is that vast empty space that separates the other basic and indivisible building blocks of the human mind. Laziness doesn’t qualify as a human behaviour, because even a behaviour is an action of a sort, and laziness is the complete lack of action. We all suffer from this to varying degrees, but this factor I reserved for the end of this series, because it is the one demon that we must each tackle on our own — on our own time and with our own tactics.

This lack of action might have you, me, and the rest of the population of the planet sleeping in a blissful stupor, celebrating our self-proclaimed greatness, but the planet’s ecology hasn’t been sleeping. It is continuing to react to the messes we are making and continuing to throw all its forces towards balancing out every imbalance we have thrust upon it. It is doing things the only way it knows how, so we better wake up before we have that cozy pillow snatched out from under our heads. They don’t call it a “force of nature” for nothing. Lazy or not, here it comes.

That brings us to the end of the reasons why I think the green movement is not quite working. In the next and last article in this series, I pick up from here and look into how these environmental communication issues can be tackled. I will do this by laying the foundations of a new project of mine, through which I wish to address some of the issues gleaned through this series.

Stay tuned.


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  1. I was going to write a long and involved answer to this post but……… yep, you guessed it….. I couldn’t be bothered!!!

    Bet you are rolling around laughing now 🙂

    Anyway another great chapter toa great series. Not sure how many readers this is getting but it is really worth compiling into a little giveaway ebook or something… that is if you can be bothered.

    1. Curses! Foiled Again!
      You have revealed my master plan to take over the world, one impressionable PDF reader at a time …
      Mr. Parks, who have you been talking to?

      Thank you for being “not bothered” enough by this series of articles to keep track, and comment. I’m happy to know someone is reading this and liking it.

      The ebook is a great idea, and it is one I will do eventually. But that comes later. I have other ideas for the culmination of this series which I am still working on. (Running out of time! Must post on the 15th for Blog Action Day!) Let’s see how that goes.

      So keep reading, and prepare to be amazed by the … err … environmental amazement!!
      Ok, that’s all I’ve got for now.

  2. If necessity is the mother of all invention, then Laziness is it’s father. ALL of the innovations in technology where created so that we could avoid work. A great many good things have come from laziness, like farming, houses, computers, and even blogs and blogging software.

    I’m not lazy, I’m effecient.

    But you’re right. There are several places where a bit of effort in the beginning would save us a ton of effort now… Problem is, we’re also procrastinators. I’ll stop being lazy and figure that out… later.

    1. Point well made Nathaniel.
      I completely agree that our progress in many fields has come from our need to make our lives easier. And that’s perfectly fine.

      What needs to be changed is our very short-term way of thinking. If we are clever enough to to come up with all these solutions, we are also clever enough to predict what side effects they will have in the long term. Once we think about that, these side effects could be lessend or eliminated with a bit more work. That’s where laziness really causes damage.

      P.S. That’s a nice site you have. Keep up the good work, and hope to see you see you around more often.

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