Look Before You Leap

There is a very simple truth that everyone seems to be overlooking: “It is much easier to prevent a problem, than it is to solve one.” Unfortunately, in our society, the drive for economic development and material enjoyment blinds us from the potential dangers that technology may cause.

“It’s a good thing that this world is so screwed up”, an optimistic friend of mine recently said to me in a consoling tone, “It makes it so there’s plenty of opportunity to do good works.” We were trying to make sense of some of the insane happenings in our world. Specifically, how mankind has a strange tendency to complicate matters and how, in attempts to solve problems, we often times make things worse.

I was telling him about a recent news article I read about a tree that was imported from another country that has taken over large areas of riparian zones, squeezing out native species. The farmers in these areas were anxiously awaiting a project whereby helicopters would come in and spray the trees with a poison called “Arsenal.” When I read this I was thinking:

“What happens a few years down the road when they find out the poison has caused some major problems with the native species it was originally sprayed to ‘protect’?”

Then we began discussing all the controversy over genetically engineered foods. Some people are promoting it as the cure for world hunger, while opponents warn of grave consequences if “Frankenfoods” are accepted. It seems ridiculous that this controversy is only now getting so much attention, even though the use of genetically altered foods already reaches into almost every realm of the American diet.

There is a very simple truth that everyone seems to be overlooking: “It is much easier to prevent a problem, than it is to solve one.” Unfortunately, in our society, the drive for economic development and material enjoyment blinds us from the potential dangers that technology may cause. Thus we end up leaping before we look, and promote such “wonderful” technologies as nuclear power, MTBE, and silicone breast implants.

Not only do we need to use more foresight, common sense, and practical research, but we must also learn to reject motives that are rooted in greed. And simultaneously we need to cultivate our respect and appreciation for the natural order of things. Due to neglect of this formula, we are not only facing great environmental problems now, but we are leaving them behind for generations to come. Some of these problems may never be resolved, but could have quite easily been avoided.

My response to my friend and to all about the condition of the world is this: “What’s done is done. We cannot change the past, but we can learn form our mistakes and, from this point forward, proceed with caution.”

Not only do we need to use more foresight, common sense, and practical research, but we must also learn to reject motives that are rooted in greed.

What you have in your mind?