I had a conversation with a family member over the weekend and my not too suprising takeaway: the wealthiest top 10% are great at personal accounting when it involves their individual and family finances. They care a great deal about their wealth and their future financial security. But ask them to do similar calculations about their contribution of carbon to the atmosphere and suddenly they’re not capable of math. Their individual efforts no longer matter and concern for the future evaporate.

The focus on personal and family wealth accumulation has taught the 10% to only think of themselves as individuals or in the unit of the nuclear family. The inability to extend outward to the greater math of the collective, of their contribution to the larger collective, really shows in the thinking about climate change.

The disconnect of the 10% is staggering. They are willing to shove off a great deal of pain and suffering in the name of their current lifestyle. What makes them comfortabe and happy today is what matters. The suffering they inflict on the poor of the planet, the other species of the planet, the future life on the planet simply does not figure into their concern or calculation.