Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Environment economy basics

A reality show I saw recently was about a really smart guy who dedicated himself to ripping people off; conning them out of millions, and participating in all sorts of illegal activities including bank heists so he could get a trophy girlfriend and live the high life.

He actually hobnobbed with well established and wealthy people who unwittingly assisted him in his nefarious activities because they accepted him at face value.

Of course, he wasn't smart enough to get away with it forever, and today finds himself spending the majority of his life - the rest of it - in jail.

The sheriff who tracked him down said this: "It's too bad. If he had dedicated his intelligence, cleverness, charm and hard work for good -- he would be an incredible asset to the world."

Remember my blog about short term gain, long term loss?

This is a classic example. Especially because apparently he still tries to con more people from inside the slammer. Which only tacks more time ....

What has this got to do with environmental economy?

Well, it seems to me that if we invested in and worked to clean up the environment, we'd ultimately save an extraordinary amount of money.

Here's the money we'd save - individually, as taxpayers:

1) we wouldn't have to pay for massive clean up sites with our tax dollars because companies have poisoned our waters, air and grounds.

2) we wouldn't have to pay the personal price of sickness and death caused by pollutions created by polluters, including the US government.

3) we wouldn't have to pay the billions of dollars we do for additional, individually paid health care in addition to the billions of tax dollars we pay for people who can't afford health care.

4) we could redirect health care research away from treating and preventing toxic poisoning from pollution to other preventable significant conditions and diseases.

5) extraordinary insurance rates for businesses and individual health care would not be necessary

6) the mortality rate of our children could be significantly improved.

7) questions of skulduggery and even homicide preventing competition or new products introduced to the market that compete with such products as oil-burning autos will lessen.

8) the mortality rate of adults could be significantly improved.

9) non-renewable resources can be replaced with renewable resources.

In short, instead of spending the billions they do for products that pollute in their making and/or use, if they spent money to make certain their process did not pollute, did not unnecessarily waste natural resources or contribute to significant health problems, they'd save you and me a ton of money -- and themselves from costly lawsuits created by hurting people to begin with, then covering up their malfeasance.

Of course, they don't care about the money you and I have to spend through our taxes to protect or heal or bury ourselves, and that's why lawsuits that cost them dearly make a difference to them and why they want ceilings on punitive damages when they are sued by people who are hurt by them in some way.

I saw a film of children affected by pesticides -- at 3, 4 and 5 years old, their motor skills are extremely poor -- they can't catch a ball, for example. And they are developmentally disabled. This is the legacy of corporate farmers who neglect to learn the damage done by pesticides they are told will make their cash crops flourish, free from bugs and disease.

While we focus so closely on the 'bottom line' - the personal costs and pain people must endure thanks to careless and purposeful use of poisons to save money are pretty horrific.

Imagine how much better the world would be if these barons of business decided from the getgo to use their intelligence, cleverness and charm to do good -- a short term loss because of the investment required, resulting in a long term gain. Not just in terms of income but in good will.

Instead of remaining stuck in today's mindset that is so completely cost inefficient -- creating the mirage of a short term gain, while in reality causing an extremely negative long term loss -- wouldn't it be terrific if business people instead started to use a genuinely cost efficient model: believing people are an assett -- as workers, consumers and creators -- rather than a labor liability.

This cycle of destruction is true in every business that practices it - from motion pictures to car makers to oil companies to toy manufacturers.

Until these modern day Ebeneezer Scrooges decide that people are more important than profits, it won't change. And when they do understand that people are more important than profits, they will understand that people create prosperity, especially when everyone works for the greater good of individuals and society. Short term loss (investment), long term gain (profits, good will, prosperous workers and positive products that everyone not only wants but uses).

Purely profit-driven practices are always short term gains, long term losses.

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