Climate change is one of these issues. Is this an example of how stupid we are? Its really tempting to say that stupidity is increasing (and maybe it really is - see here).
If you're a climate denier you might be thinking now "Yes, how stupid is all this fuss over nothing". And if you're concerned about climate change you might be saying "Yes, how stupid is it that we're so blind to the evidence in front of us".
Full disclosure: I'm in the latter camp! If you want to argue with that, provide rational evidence to the contrary please.
But as a parent, as a "responsible citizen" (if such a creature even exists), as a religious person, as a moral atheist, or even as the indignant reader of tabloid blogs ... how do you sleep when your children are going to have to live in your excrement? How do you sleep when wasteful consumption in the name of comfort keeps a majority of the world in the cycle of poverty -- for your convenience?
Really, how dumb are we that we exploit the planet, steal resources from our kids, and then leave them holding the tub of trash. Quite aside from rich nations abusing the poorer countries, refusing to take responsibility, and profiting off the backs of others as much as they can.
There are two explanations: we are stupid, or climate change is really only a magnifying lens for the innate nature of humans, the kind that says "me first and screw the rest".
Now, the internet may be making us a little dumber or different (here, here, here, and here). But that's not a strong explanation. But pure greed ... now that certainly has to account for some of it. Climate change is a huge threat to profit taking, and so the longer the people of power deny the reality, the longer they can abuse the rest of us (say hello to the Koch brothers, Monsanto, oil companies making obscene profits, and all the frackers).
And of course, where money is involved, the politicians for hire can't be far behind to smooth the legislative path to profit, in return, of course, for some legal and illegal kickbacks. In one study 90% of the US Republican leadership deny climate change, and 77% of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology are climate deniers. Why? Are they stupid?
(But remember, the politicians are voted in by you and I, so where does the responsibility really lie?)
I posit that in reality we're seeing a societal increase in avoiding responsibility, encouraged by the "me first" attitudes from a culture of individualism ("you can be anything you want to be" - what a stupid lie!). So its a case of "as long as my comfort zone is not being disturbed, I won't let climate change do so either".
This is nothing new. We are creatures who do not like to be wrong. We hate to say sorry. We will abdicate responsibility on the flimsiest evidence ... in our relationships, in our work, and in our community. And as long as we do not internalize a belief of absolute right and wrong, of God, why should it be any other way? (And I say that because your actions betray what you truly believe, and thus are many of our leaders betrayed).
Climate change is a global threat in a globally connected, multi-generational, inequitable society plagued by vulnerability (please watch the video, or watch in high resolution here).
When your back is against the wall, a persons true colours are displayed. And unfortunately these are showing pride, selfishness, and greed.
So what is one to do? Be honest, examine your values, and consider that if there is a God, then there is responsibility and accountability, and be knurd*.