For some reason this number makes me despair. Here I am thinking about biking to work again. I use estate sales to buy some of the things I want, clothes, kitchen stuff, tools, partly because it's cheap and partly because it's true recycling. I put in energy efficient bulbs. I keep the heat turned down.
Meanwhile the human race is reproducing like bunny rabbits. Is any individual effort even remotely meaningful? Should I care about the next wave of floods and storms and droughts killing off a hundred thousand at a sweep? Should i hold back on charitable giving for medical care to the destitute, and spend it on a trip to Vegas?
I don't know what's right, or what's humanistic. The human race is pretty much like a bunch of pigs in a pig sty, and are rushing headlong to self destruction. If we consume every thing in site, drown ourselves in our own shit, and continue pumping out litters of babies, why should I even try? How do I know what's right and what's wrong?
My 2 cents.
That was true of pre-sedentarised, pre-technologised civilisations, but the more technological we become, the more vested interests the powers that be have in conserving enormous masses of cheap humans as means of production to preserve their wealth and power. I don't think that trend is anywhere near done yet. Today's golden rule is : thou shalt not kill the fucker who is ruining your life... :)
Wealth and power spares from the law, people in positions of power do not need to follow the golden rule, they simply buy their way out of shit.
It is also worthwhile to note that humanity has destroyed many of the other ecosystems and species on this planet. This leads to the the hilarious contradiction of animal rights activists.
"Don't put the cheetahs, lions, and tigers in captivity, it's 'inhumane'" they say. Having Exotic pets is inhumane and/or dangerous - ban them. Well here is the choice they and we have to make - either we make the other species of the planet useful in someway to humans or they will be eradicated by resource pressure. Funny thing is that we are killing the most iconic species, animals that we have an affinity for, the more intelligent apex predators, because they require intact ecosystems... while those animals we dislike like parasites, and cockroaches become more common.
Just some thoughts.
How about making an announcement that there are 3 lifeboats discovered at the other end of the ship - quick everyone, now is your chance! Then the jelly donuts are mine, all mine! Mine!
Or... like you say. maybe the ship isn't really sinking - it stablilized but with no engine power. But there's a thousand people on board! No radio, no power, no food when the jelly donuts are gone. And the toilets don't flush. Time for a lottery.....
(ever read Life of Pi? Not the same analogy tho. All alone in a lifeboat with a tiger)
For me it's largely about seeing what I value being taken away, and feeling completely unable to do anything about it - a beautiful planet with diversity of species, humans with some hope of living lives without poverty and scarcity (never happened before, I know, probably never happen anyway), the world essentially turning into a pigsty.
If I could invent a virus that would spread like the flu, and result in 95% infertility, with no other lasting negative effects, would I? Yes. People would have to take care of themselves in their old age, but the world overall would be better.
But that is a fantasy and wont happen. I just feel like my own efforts are futile in light of how small I feel in front of the word "billion".
As is happens, a lot of things that are good for the planet are healthy - living close to work, walking or bike commuting, those reduce risk for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and are psychologically beneficial. Frugality, such as buying 2nd hand goods, tools, etc, means more security for the future. Organic gardening, composting kitchen and yard waste, all healthy and pleasurable. But I feel Im fooling myself to say it will matter to "the planet" or to humanity.