Some apparently wise statements reminds me of lite beer: all the taste and less filling. These statements sound nice but are not reality based. Consider this for a moment this:
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. — Native American Proverb
It is supposed to appeal to our sense of conservation, of course. Since it is our children’s possession, we have to take care of it. Rather flimsy reasoning. It is not our property, says the proverb, and implies that this realization would compell us to conserve and not trash the place.
Let’s look at the evidence. Which car do people drive more carefully: rental cars or their own cars? Tell the average human that he owns the stuff, and he will be more concerned about conservation than if he were told that it belongs to someone else.
Want to know why public monies are wasted? Because the money the public official is spending does not belong to him. You are on an expense account? Well, don’t bother checking the right hand side of the menu. Want a forest to be destroyed? Make it nobody’s forest. The tragedy of the commons will trash it soon enough. Earth does not belong to you? Well, let’s have a party and who cares if we trash the place — it’s not mine in any case.
Want people to really care about something? Make them own the thing and see how they care.