Greed is killing us

I often wonder how we will be judged by future generations. 

When I look back at my parents and grandparents lives, they were quite different. They did more manual labour, spent less time in a vehicle and certainly had fewer luxuries than we have today.

Is there anything negative that I could judge their generations for? I have to admit not much that comes to mind.

Today, however, I wonder with out-of-control greed, corruption and indifference, what are we doing to the planet?

In the World Economic Forum’s annual report recently released, they referred to the Top 10 risks facing the world, four of which had to do with climate change. 

South of the border, we have a climate change denier who is adamant that coal is a clean energy source, even as communist China is retrofitting coal-powered generation plants to natural gas in order to clean up their environment.

Too many people have been turning a blind eye to bad habits and monopolistic strongholds on industries that prevent innovation and adaptation.

Take one industry for instance. Since biblical times, we knew that the black, sticky element that came out of the ground was good for water proofing. For the longest time, we polluted the Earth at an alarming rate by pouring raw bitumen on roads and calling it infrastructure.

The environmentalists are up in arms about leaky engines dropping hydrocarbons on the road. Really? We continue to pour raw hydrocarbons on to pristine ground to make roads and call it progress.

Thanks goodness sound, environmental alternatives are becoming available. But can we reverse the damage?

I have my suspicions that it will be several generations before any damage is reversed. In Alberta for example, a province that still holds onto a dream that the hydrocarbon economy is their sole future, we are looking at more than one billion cubic metres of completely poisoned water stored in tailings ponds.

To put that in to perspective, that is equivalent to 4,500 homes (assuming two person occupancy) consuming water for a year. B.C. is certainly not innocent in this regard either.

So what is the plan for the tailing ponds? What if I said there isn’t really a plan. We’ll just turn a blind eye to that.

In other words, there is no real engineered solution to clean the water enough to return it to an aquifer. Well, not quite at least.

It can be done if you are willing to wait 300 years and invest north of $25 billion to keep moving it a little and diluting it every year.

Then, after 300 years your children’s children’s children’s (you get the message) can check on it and judge us accordingly. 

As we find a new technology that appears “green,we leap to it without thinking about the consequences. For example, are electric cars a solution or a problem?

I will guarantee you they are going to become a big problem. A problem relating to disposal of waste products and generation of electricity if we have no internal combustion engines, etc., etc. 

Recently, an electric vehicle manufacturer ran a demonstration day for clients to try their vehicles. The diesel generator recharging the vehicles consumed 150 gallons per hour of hydrocarbon fuel.

I don’t know the answers, but I do know, as an entrepreneur, that we need to look through a different lens to analyze future economic plans if we want to reverse the effects of climate change and mitigate the catastrophic climate events that are already affecting us.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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