Let’s be honest. Part of the reason that we haven’t gotten further in fighting climate change is that we weigh our options with a cost/benefit analysis. I can’t be the only person who’s thought, “I could walk 100 feet and throw out this can. But let me dump it in the trash can that’s right next to me.” Maybe I’m cutting myself too much slack, but I believe that we’re all guilty of this.
When you have an entire globe making the same calculations in its head, we become extremely wasteful. And we are. I hear a lot about overpopulation (which isn’t actually a thing, by the way) but the problem isn’t lack of resources. It’s mismanagement of them. Sure, over 1 billion people in the world are chronically malnourished. On the other side, though, we lose 1.3 billion tons of food in waste each year.
A lot of the problem is related to the process of agriculture itself. We consume a lot of resources to cultivate crops. More problematically, we consume a lot of those crops to give to livestock, in order to keep up with people’s hunger for meat-based protein. Hamburgers taste delicious, but the process of keeping, slaughtering and producing cows and their meat is terrible for the environment.
According to Reuters, the scientific journal Nature recently published an article arguing that, if we wanted any chance of fighting poverty at all, we need to combat climate change. Only if we make air cleaner, lower the amount of water usage and cut back on pollution, do we have a shot at eliminating global poverty in the near future.
It makes sense. If you have problems with basic needs, there’s no way that you have any chance of pulling yourself by your bootstraps and getting you and your family out of poverty. It seems that in this cost/benefit analysis, we’ve all been calculating incorrectly if we want to save the planet and one another.