Quality of life, technology, and ecology
I had a good talk with my friend Geri yesterday while walking our dogs around the neighborhood: she and her husband Mark had seen "An Inconvenient Truth" the night before. This all got me thinking about why so many people can blind themselves to what I think are obvious problems: ecology (or lack thereof), government over spending, the consumer debt bubble, etc.
Part of the problem is that many of us simply do not want to confront problems when they can be put off until the next year or simply dumped on the next generation. In the US, I think that many people suffer from the disease of materialism: the substitution of material things (or in some cases simply the addictive desire for more 'stuff') for basic human pleasures of family, friendships, enjoyment of nature, etc. There are many new technology/business opportunities that could help local economies and be ecologically friendly: passive heating and cooling, low power computers, more fuel efficient vehicles, technologies for growing food efficiently very close to where people live to reduce transportation costs, etc.
BTW, the solution to global warming (or at least improve the situation) is simple: increase the tax on the use of carbon based fuels while decreasing sales and income taxes. Make it economically viable to create new technologies and industries that reduce our energy and environmental damage "foot prints".
Politically, my solution will never happen in the US because their are too many entrenched corporate interests making profit on the current energy industry.