chapter  7
30 Pages

Protecting the Endangered Human

We humans tend to worry first about our own happiness, then about our families, then about our communities. In times of great stress, such as war or natural disaster, we may focus temporarily on our country but we rarely think about Earth as a whole or the human species as a whole. This narrow perspective, perhaps best exemplified by the American consumer, has led to the environmental degradation of our planet, a grossly widening gap in living standards between rich and poor people and nations, and a scientific research agenda that focuses almost exclusively on the needs and desires of the wealthy few. Reversing the worldwide trends toward market-based atomization and increasing indifference to the suffering of others will require a human rights focus, forged by the development of what Vaclav Havel has termed a “species consciousness.”1