Your essay reflects ideas that I used to think about and voice. I was an organizer of the Green Party. I use the past tense, used not use, as an average. I occasionally say things similar. However, in the last decade I have become a bit jaded about these things. The problem as I see it is that we humans are stone aged creatures that by their ability to learn new ways to exploit their environment have constructed a world we may simply not be well adapted to.
I find it irritating when I see trash lying around, and the standard thought still happens, "How can people be such pigs?" I then step back and realize that this is how we evolved. Our ancestors ate fruit, grains, later meat and took food from the natural world. When they ate a fruit they thought nothing of throwing the core or peel onto the ground. Once the product is consumed it is second nature to cast off the inedible parts. It takes additional thought or training to hold on to that aluminium can and put it later in a recycle bin. In addition our view of the world is local. It is still hard to get people to recycle basic stuff. How many times have I put such material in a recycle bin to see that people discarded their unsorted trash into it?
We evolved in small bands that later, about 30 thousand years ago, became larger tribes and only in the last 5,000 years or so did we start to settle into large sedentary groups or cities. Our species spent 125 thousand years in small bands of a few dozen members and a total world population of a few million. Our perspective was intensely local with very intimate relationships with people. Bands would exchange members, often through marriage, and so outsiders were a presence and such encounters could be peaceful or they could be violent. The tendency is then to act on the basis of very immediate concerns and sensory input. These often involve people in their community and concerns about the "others" on the outside, or what they will eat tomorrow, or in the modern world whether they will have their job next year. We are creatures that no matter how smart we are, or think we are, we still have a stone aged brain that tries to manage in a world that is interconnected across continents, populated by over 7 billion of us and in mega-cities with ten of millions of people.
It is clear that you can motivate people into action if the problem involves people who are identified in some way other than you. This can cover a range of things, from religion, language, skin tone, their flag and so forth. In 2002-3 I found it almost frightening to witness the war fever in the US as it geared up for the invasion of Iraq. This nation spent $3trillion to engage in that adventure. It is far more difficult to get people similarly motivated over the CO_2 molecule and our uncontrolled experiment with the planetary climate by producing about a trillion tons of the stuff. This is far more of an abstract problem. It requires a different way of thinking. It might be the case that education will persuade some people to give some concern over this. However, I have known a number of physicists who regard global warming as a pseudo-problem. There is a certain (I keep unnamed) physicist who is advanced in knowledge of string theory, an inexhaustible bogger and who holds to far right winged (almost fascist) ideology as a higher truth that somehow negates any matter of global warming. Along those lines, 25% of the Nazi SS held graduate degrees. So education may not be the magic bullet we think it is.
I argue in my essay that intelligent life in the universe faces certain limits due to cosmology, and in addition face problems maybe not too different from what we face. I argue in a funny way that this might in fact be a good thing. You will have to read it to see how that is the case. We appear to be engineering the next mass extinction. Our impact on the environment will persist for up to 100,000 years and could count as severe as the KT or maybe even the Permian extinctions. Our current situation may be just a high energy and high resource consumption period that on a timeline is a narrow Gaussian curve (almost delta function) between two stone ages. We came out of the Pleistocene stone age in a world of great abundance and after this we will be in the second stone age on a planet severely depleted and biologically reduced. Our species may in time be snuffed out as a result.
I will of course continue to hope for the better angels of our nature. I though question whether that can hold.