Environmental Ignorance and Apathy
Tyler Cowen took it about 13 months ago, did poorly, and dismissed his results as a natural consequence of the division of labor. The Other Megan stumbled upon that yesterday somehow and remarked, “I thought this was telling. So little interest in how your place works?”
Ogged tends to side with Cowen in this one, although he feels guilty about it — or at least wonders if he should.
I would have scored very poorly on the test had I not gotten bored with it after five questions or so. And I don’t feel the least bit bad about it, either. I care about the environment, not because of some quasi-religious worship of Mother Earth or a concern about the planet as an organism but because it’s my habitat.
It’s not my job to worry about watersheds and, even it I were to worry about them as a hobby, my impact is minuscule. There are people with genuine expertise in that sort of thing and they create the regulations which govern how neighborhoods are built, what sort of businesses can go where, how waste is managed, and so forth.
I don’t care where my recycling goes. I put the little blue bins out every Monday night and some guys with a truck take them wherever it is they’re supposed to go early Tuesday morning. My assumption is that the people at the other end know what they’re doing. If they don’t, there’s really not much I can do about it. (I’m not even sure whether the whole enterprise wastes more resources than they recover; to the extent that it’s not terribly inconvenient for me to throw the plastics and papers in separate bins, I just go along with the flow.)
More generally speaking, while I’m reasonably curious about the world around me and more scientifically literate than most, I have only a cursory familiarity about how even the technical environment within the natural environment in which I live operates. I don’t understand beyond a basic level how my car works, the electrical system in my house, the air conditioner, the computer on which I’m typing, the Internet onto which I’m about to publish it, or a whole lot of other things.
Certainly, what kinds of weeds whatever Indians were living here a thousand years ago ate is far down the list of things I need to worry about looking up.