Saturday, July 11, 2009

Eco or Econ?

I was watching a documentary today (Toxic Imperial Valley) and the commentary in the film was interviewing a group of desert racers who flocked to the Salton Sea area to drive their bikes and offroad vehicles across the desert dunes. In the interview the driver of one of the vehicles argued that one volcano released more carbon dioxide than all the people in the world combined. His conclusion was that therefore he should do what he wants because he argued that the world was here for people to use and do with what they please (he also did not believe in global warming). His final few comments were most interesting though because he told the commentator to look around. In front of him were two dune buggies and a bike. He said that what you see before you is about $90 000 worth of equipment. He continued by stating that what the dune racers were doing was important because they were supporting the economy by spending all that money.

This comment made the gears in my head turn, and I began to think...so essentially this man is arguing that despite the fact that he is contributing to the destruction of the desert ecosystem (and the general polution of the Salton Sea area) his justification was that he was supporting the economy. This caused me to pause and wonder if more people justify destructive behaviour, like this, because they believe they are helping the economy. My next thought was... just how important is the economy anyways? I began to try and analyze this...

the economy is important because when he buys a vehicle, or upgrades for his vehicle, he supports a company....
because he supports a company, people are able to be employed...
because of this families are able to support themselves from the money gained from the employment...
then these same people buy more things, and thus completing the cycle of the employee-consumer....

This was all fine and dandy, and I began to understand his point of view. Hey, by buying his vehicles he was sustaining our world! But wait there are more factors:

although he may have been supporting a company, which in turn, helps a family... the money ends up back with the company and not with the families that REALLY need it. The executives end up with the money in the end because they have created this illusion of freedom when in reality the majority of people help sustain a select few. We are free... free to spend. As soon as we get our money we spend it.

The second notion that entered my mind was that I don't think the economy is more important than the environment. Sure, the economy can collapse and we can rebuild it (as we have seen over the past year)...the environment is not as forgiving. We need to be conscious of our decisions and how they affect the environment. If we didn't have an economy. No money. No banks... we would survive. Without the forests, rivers, plants and animals... where would we be? You can't survive on a chequebook!e


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