The scenarios we’ve covered are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Much more lies beneath and things are often much more complicated than what they seem to be on the surface.
Take biofuels for example. They’ve long been touted as a replacement for fossil fuels, one answer to our greatest concerns about foreign oil dependency, greenhouse gases and general pollution. But the demand for more ethanol production has caused an even greater deforestation in Brazil and other parts of the world. Rainforests are being burned and bulldozed to make room for crops to produce this alternative energy source. As the price of these crops goes up, forests come down.
Time magazine just reported (Thursday, March 27, 2008) that:
Several new studies show the biofuel boom is doing exactly the opposite of what its proponents intended: it’s dramatically accelerating global warming, imperiling the planet in the name of saving it.
Meanwhile, by diverting grain and oilseed crops from dinner plates to fuel tanks, biofuels are jacking up world food prices and endangering the hungry. The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. Harvests are being plucked to fuel our cars instead of ourselves.
But one doesn’t have to be an expert in all these matters and their correlations to figure out what buttons not to push. Simple awareness and evaluation often provides clear-cut decisions (no pun intended.)
Whether it’s actively avoiding products from countries with child labor issues, making more socially-conscious purchasing decisions in general, putting aside leisure and comfort to spend more time and resources in actively engaging the problems of our world, committing more time to evaluating opinions and positions before jumping to false conclusions, realizing the potential global consequences of our dangerous competitive tendencies, or voting on the issues instead of the personalities, we can indeed push that button less often.
Don’t fool yourself. You are indeed pressing that button. It’s not a simple yes or no answer.
Each and every day, you and I make self-centered decisions that potentially take the life of another. We certainly do choose our own pleasure or convenience to the detriment of others.
The only question that remains is…
What are you going to do about it?
To be continued…