The Buddha poses a simple but provocative question to us all when he asks in the Sunakkhata Sutta:

Suppose there were a bronze cup of beverage possessing a good color, smell, and taste, but it was mixed with poison, and a man came who wanted to live, not to die, who wanted pleasure and recoiled from pain. What do you think, would that man drink that cup of beverage, knowing: “If I drink this I will incur death or deadly suffering”?

Majjhima Nikaya 105

The rational answer is, “No, of course not.” But we are not really rational creatures, are we? Often enough the actual answer is, “Yes, of course.” We are all going to die anyway, the rationale goes, so we might as well enjoy the sweet taste of life while we can, and never mind the consequences.

It seems to me that this closely describes the situation we are in regarding climate change. As inhabitants of the modern world, we all drink from the cup as we consume precious resources and spew waste into the air and water. The gratification of the lifestyle this enables is so compelling, we ignore the danger of the harm we are causing to ourselves and others.

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