We have an arrogance towards nature. Maybe that's a necessity to get on with civilization.
I was born in California. There once was a drought so severe that people could only water lawns on alternate days. After a while, no lawn watering was allowed. There were restrictions on washing cars and people were advised how to save water. We were told not to let the water run while brushing teeth. No one thought about wasting water until the well was running dry.
People were even told to restrict flushing. News programs told people that if they squished a bug with a tissue and threw it in the toilet, not to flush just a dead bug. As things went on, people were actually prohibited from flushing liquid waste every time they went to the bathroom. These mandatory water usage restrictions were enforced by comparing monthly water usage with previous water usage data for the same residence.
In Oregon, there was a drought one summer when reserve water levels were dangerously low. I'd been through this before, but many people could not give up watering their lawns (despite being told that lawns bounce back in the fall even if not watered in the summer). I had a neighbor who washed his shiny purple automobile daily. I said something to him, but shouldn't have. He was very muscular and I'd have been in peril if I continued.
One day in February, the rain poured down for several days. Well, I thought, at least that ends the drought. I was shocked when experts on the news said that the drought was now worse than ever! It turned out that the source of Oregon's drinking water is the snow in the surrounding mountains. The rain that February was not cold enough to fall as snow in the mountains and melted some of the snow pack.
This was another lesson to me that our understanding of complex natural systems is overly simplified and tinged with our innate arrogant superiority. Sometimes corporate interests will promote a particular point of view that further serves their interests.
There was recently another drought in California. The effects were less than they would've been, however, because the public understood the problem this time and evidently water usage levels were reduced.
In the 60's, we spoke about raising our consciousness. I do not think that we can solve all problems just by increasing public awareness, but I think it's a necessary first step.