Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why are we different?

What sets us apart from animals? From Animal Planet, Animals did it first: Spoken language, religion, drug use and self-destruction. My colleague DM added the role of grandparents. With animals you seldom see grandparents getting involved in the raising of the young.

Anyway, back to the show, which then went on to state that there is another characteristic, our inclination to care for those less fortunate than us, extending even to other species - helping animals, especially those that suffer because of our human actions. Embracing this altruistic behaviour could see us taking much better care of our planet.

My view is very similar. We were placed here to govern. But we are not necessarily doing a splendid job. Whether global warming is caused by us or not is irrelevant. Fact is that we pollute more than we should.

But the solution is not simple. We have developing countries wanting to grow, and even introducing a carbon trading scheme will not curb the rapid growth in emissions. If we ever get a sensible carbon tax (~USD50/t), will this stop people emitting? I doubt it. Ultimately industry can pass on this extra cost to the consumer, and the world will still exist.

So what exactly is the solution? How do we find the balance between short term financial gain (which is very important to the shareholders who invested their money in companies, and expecting the highest possible return) and our responsibility to care for our planet? ANd why do they seem to be mutually exclusive? Are they? It seems that tonight I have only questions, no answers.

Time to get some sleep. Answers will come, as always.

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