Can we utilize our own greed to protect the environment? This is an interesting question that a current TV show tries to investigate (see here). In the series, we see a green entrepreneur trying to pitch the sale of carbon credits to investors. The idea behind the credit is that industrial polluters can offset their pollution through some sort of environmental protection effort.
In the TV show, the credits being suggested are the forests of Indonesia, or for a lack of a better word, the promise from Indonesian authorities not to allow the burning of their forests. The other side of the coin being of course, then, how are the native people going to survive. This is a complicated issue given the mistrust of the citizens towards their own government. To backtrack, the reason why Indonesian forests are being burn is to allow the plantation of cash crops, such as palm oil. As commented by an Indonesian farmer, there is no assurance that whatever money obtained from the sale of credits will benefit the local population. In his opinion, the money will just end up with the various Indonesian governmental authorities. I tend to agree with the farmer’s comment because it is already illegal to burn the forests of Indonesia. Still, the forests continue being burnt.
I don’t know whether this enterprise may be successful or not. But while watching the show, I realized that the main reason why we are talking about carbon credits is due to our own overpopulation. Human pollution exists because we are multiplying exponentially. We are good at surviving, and therefore, producing waste. So, in that sense, should not a credit be given to encourage people from not producing more humans? Maybe gay people should be given credit for the mere fact that we are carbon neutral. But for a minority among us who find surrogates for such endeavor, we do not procreate. In that sense, we help the environment and should actually be viewed as a necessity in human society. It would be like the good old medieval times when the spare son is sent to be a priest in order to appease the Catholic god. Oh well, I doubt our governments will ever see how environmental friendly we are.