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If I deprive myself of a fertile soil to birth meaning then soon I will no longer be in a position to do things that promote well being more generally. There is a reason that on airlines they tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others. (I will not be of great use if I collapse and need help just to survive, or have the flame of life's candle flicker and spit by imposing a false frugality.)

It is about becoming aware of the distinction between want and need, and not mis-categorizing one as the other. We will make mistakes in the borderlands from time to time, and then we can correct those errors and move on. Life is very much a dynamic process, and it calls for a flexible set of frames that can allow us to avoid becoming stuck and bewildered. Each day I need to find nourishment - in food, in ideas, in nature, in art. These nourishments provide me with the means to be useful, effective and vital. They are my oxygen mask.

The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle

An excellent essay that covers off the main points very well, and the necessity of expanding our circle of concern.

But now for the problems: People respond most effectively to concrete problems that are close and immediate. People also respond to the individual more effectively than to a group, which means that appeals are best focused when showing the predicament of an individual.

Climate change is a particularly vexing problem because it is abstract, and not perceived as an immediate threat, and participating in reducing the risk of climate change does not produce immediately visible changes. (However, if things are done which reduce an immediate problem such as particulate in the atmosphere that are affecting people's health near the source of emissions can show the positive affect of change.) It is also problematic because it has been politicized and made a wedge issue in many countries and states. It also makes us have to extend our circle of concern out to ecologies and not just a single species. In many ways it is the worst type of existential crisis because it requires us to what we are worst at - responding to something abstract, distant and difficult to grasp in the way we can grasp a drowning child in front of us.