If you feel a strong urge to blame somebody, you can point the finger of guilt at him and her, them and those and be sure to include yourself. For everybody, absolutely everybody, has had a large or small part in the pollution of our environment. Basically, this planetary mess is the residue from the daily, living of the world's teeming human populations. The time has come to change our outmoded systems for coping with the wastes and byproducts from 20th century living.
The pollution of our environment touches almost everything on earth with its dirty fingers. Its causes are rooted in human nature, especially in the way we regard the laws of nature that govern our luxurious planet. Let's face it: All of us have a few self centered ideas about the world of nature. We tend to kid ourselves that just one person cannot do much harm to the landscape. Tossing one small bag of litter in a stream or by a roadside is all right if nobody sees us do it. Ah, but there is the finger of guilt and we know it. When it comes to blame, every small offender is in the same category as the big offenders who pollute our air and water, soil and seas with industrial wastes.
Nor can we load all this blame on the 20th century. Since its basic causes are rooted in the self centered character of human nature, they must have been there since the beginning. This is true. Our primitive ancestors also assumed that everything in the world was theirs to use and abuse as they wished. We cannot blame them because they did not know any better. They were unaware of the laws of give and take that govern everything in the world of nature, including mankind. Besides, they had no chance to see the consequences of their attitudes. There were not enough of them to clog the environment with their garbage. They had no vast industries to pollute the whole world with chemical byproducts.
History reveals how mankind changed the world to suit himself, how one success led to the next and the human population multiplied. Nobody noticed that the earth's resources are limited or that man's success doomed nature's creatures. Mankind went on taking what he wanted and dumping his wastes. Nobody noticed that nature's patient laws could not keep pace with man's careless extravagance. We cannot blame our ancestors because their old methods produced success for teeming populations. Or so it seemed.
Finally, in the 20th century, the results caught up with us unawares. World pollution is our problem and we shall solve it. We shall have to do much better than our ancestors because the job calls for the more adult features of human nature. We shall discard many unhappy, unworkable notions that belonged in humanity's childhood. One of these is blaming somebody else for our problems. Chances are, certain rascals are indeed guilty but blaming them does not help. Instead, let's win them over and rehabilitate them. The messy pollution of our environment challenges our ability to work together with a sincere respect for nature. This is something new and full of promise. Success depends on how well we adopt more adult, responsible attitudes toward ourselves and our world.
It took ages to create this pollution and everybody helped. It will take time and mature patience to solve it, plus everybody's help. We can discard childish antics that boost anti pollution today and forget it tomorrow. We can discard self¬righteous notions for doing our plain duty. And let's not blame industrial scientists for causing this mess. They can also provide long range plans to help get us out of it.