I visited the beach in a super-wealthy Massachusetts community yesterday (by which I mean, the kind of place where it is not unusual to see a private home with its own tennis court, and perhaps a swimming pool too). While walking to and from the spot where we laid our blanket, I picked up lots of trash to keep it out of the ocean. But I still found myself watching with anguish as various brightly-colored plastic items my hands and bags were too full to grab were swept into the Atlantic at high tide. This morning I emailed a letter to the editor of the town’s local paper, citing UN reports on marine pollution, microplastics, and the extinction crisis, and attaching pictures of the refuse. But this afternoon I wonder, what’s the point? If the wealthiest (and presumably best-educated) communities in the world do not care for the ecosystems that support human civilization–and perhaps are not even informed about the crises we face–what hope is there that poor Brazilians will protect the Amazon, or poor Africans will stop poaching endangered animals? In Newton, where I live, complex negotiations are going on to save our last forest, Webster Woods. That’s good, of course, but if climate change and biodiversity were the top priorities they should be everywhere, the forest would never have been in danger. And there’s a concurrent battle brewing about whether to cite a new senior center in one of our city parks! The message just has not gotten through that at this point in human history, nature has to be preserved in order for everything else we care about to last. The continuing environmental obliviousness of our elites puts me in the mood to write a dystopian flash fiction. In it, a group of galactic macro hedge fund traders, after thoughtful research and analysis, all decide to short the Earth. Maybe that’s where it ends. But maybe there’s one alien John Paulson-analogue who bucks conventional wisdom, and stays long our planet? I’d sure be rooting for him to become a gazillionaire, but I’m struggling to imagine his investment thesis. Maybe it will come to me; maybe there can be a happy ending. But right now, I think we’re in deep-value territory at best.