Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Short-term vs. long-term good

I've been thinking about short-term vs. long-term a lot lately, mostly because of the research I'm doing into the climate change situation for a book I'm writing. You might also think of it as individual good vs. collective good.

For example, an impoverished family never is able to afford their own car. They take public transportation everywhere. As individuals, and in the short-term, they do not have the convenience of their own vehicle. Collectively, though, and for the long-term, they have a reduced "carbon footprint," meaning, they use less resources than others who do have cars. They contribute by not consuming as much.

On the flip side, there is a family who can afford every material doohickey and gizmo known to man. They may have a huge carbon footprint as individuals. But they can also afford to purchase and support new technologies such as hybrid cars or solar panels. In this way, they contribute to perfecting these technologies for mass production, so that everyone can reduce their consumption.

I'm reminded of Mary Baker Eddy's phrase, "whatever blesses one blesses all." Is it possible in this human existence to achieve this kind of balance, where consumption is actually beneficial? Meaning, by using someone else's goods and services, I will actually cause no harm? Does there always need to be waste and destruction for us to survive?

I’ve been taking this question to Spirit lately, because frankly, many of the projections for the future make me shake my head at the grim prospects. But, even if we haven't caused the massive changes that are taking place, we may still have a window to turn things around. And to me, that effort has to start mentally.

We have to take that spiritual equation of universal blessing and make it the standard by which we measure the solutions we devise. We need to move beyond thinking of short-term conveniences for ourselves individually to long-term benefits for the entire world. Once we become accustomed to the needs of the long-term and the collective, it's my belief that the short-term and individual will fall into line and become harmonious.

How is everyone else thinking about these issues?

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 10/03/2007 01:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe God blesses every attempt to do right, as long as we are in earnest when we make that attempt. The best we can do is to follow our highest conception of right under the circumstances, and act on our impulses. It doesn't matter whether we're putting solar panels on our roof, buying a hybrid vehicle, or simply slowing down to 10 miles less than the posted speed limit or replacing some light bulbs with CFLs in order to decrease our negative impact on the global situation. I am reminded of the widow who gave the tiny donation, but was praised by Jesus as having given the most because it was all she had, and was given with gratitude and humility. I believe our trying to find solutions to common problems will be honored by God and multiplied like the loaves and fishes given so willingly, as long as we're truly doing the best we can to protect the environment and understand His plan for it.

At 10/03/2007 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Kim said...

I love the idea of experiencing the unlimited within seemingly limited resources.

I know - this is my conviction - that once the idea is more generally accepted that we must turn around our consumption and look at our usage with an eye on the long term AND an eye on our neighbors (current and future), we are finding and will continue to find wholistic and satisfying solutions.

The vision of a people's use of energy dependent on harmony with all things, sustainability, reusability, efficiency and longevity is thrilling to consider. It is noble, unselfish and touches on the sacred.

Say "Amen!" somebody!


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