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Prioritize planetary protections over profit

Submitted by Sarah DeClerk on April 18, 2013 – 12:03 pmNo Comment

The March 29 oil spill in Mayflower demonstrated how industry can devastate the environment. It is a particularly striking reminder because the spill happened in a residential area and humans, not just ducks and turtles, are dealing with the fallout. The implications of this spill, taking into consideration other spills across the world, should compel us to adjust our priorities so that the environment comes first.

The planet must work correctly, more so that industry, economy and government. It must because without it, we cannot live. The planet, and not a corporation, produces everything we need to survive. If the planet could not support us and the air and water were contaminated or the atmosphere destroyed, we would die.

The Earth is the most important thing in our lives. We rely on it for basic existence. Yet, protecting it is considered an afterthought and a nuisance. Environmental protection is something to be bought off and avoided – something that interferes with business.

Environmentalists are ridiculed. Global warming is denied. People quickly forget about oil spills, quickly brushed off by tight-lipped tycoons with deep pockets.

Environmentalism drifts down to the bottom of the to-do list. This is understandable. Protecting the planet is a difficult, untested field. Doing an adequate job of it would require transforming industrial structures. People would rather the government spent its time and effort on something useful, like getting out of debt, urban development or perfecting drones. People do not have the motivation to be aware of their environment; they have to pay rent, get to work and feed their families.

Then again, if the planet cannot support life anymore, we will have a 100 percent unemployment rate, and our mortality rate would be pretty high, too.

If the Earth goes, we all go – although those in power rarely acknowledge it. Industrial regulation is a violation of free trade and a supposed hazard to the economy (although unregulated pollution is a hazard to the environment). If we regulate more, companies simply go somewhere without environmental protection. In fact, companies actually profit from a hostile environment because it forces people to pay for air, water, food and shelter.

Development is not the problem. We do not have to live in the woods and weave our own sandals. Doing so would be unnecessary and undesirable. Industry has bettered people’s lives, overall. Although cities produce a lot of pollution, they are necessary educational and cultural centers.

However, we develop without respect for the environment, the planet will not be able to support us and society will collapse.

We must strive to develop in ways that are compatible with the planet. To do this, we must find new ideas and technologies that limit our affect on the environment or allow the planet to grow with us. Such a revolution would encourage ingenuity and boost the economy.

It can only be accomplished, however, by preventing further damage to the environment and holding companies accountable for their actions. This cannot be solved with a payoff. It is time for the planet to be our first priority.


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