Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Clean Water - Good for the Environment and Great for Business

Clean Water – Good for the Environment and Great for Business

Clean water is a necessity for not just humans but for an array of wildlife.  There is no possible way to sustain life on this planet without clean water.  Yet, everywhere we turn we see examples of clean water becoming polluted, wasted, and depleted.  To add to this challenge is the need to obtain fossil fuels for the everyday energy requirements of modern life.  The two main ways fossil fuels come into the picture are by hydraulic fracking and off shore drilling.  There is even a desire by many energy companies to start off shore drilling in the pristine waters of the arctic.
This is important to everyone on the planet because, even when sea water is affected, water pollution has a detrimental effect on the entire ecosystem.  Clean water is also important to a variety of businesses.  The first businesses that are affected are the many fishing companies that rely on the sea for their livelihood.  Then, water pollution affects tourism for all areas that are downstream of the source or are on the coast close to the source.  Finally, it affects shipping lanes that have to be halted or diverted during clean up periods.
From a strictly environmental standpoint, it is easy to simply demand that companies end all fossil fuel use immediately.  However, abruptly ending fossil fuel use without an abundance of renewable energy sources and the infrastructure to support them would hurt, if not severely harm, the world economy.  Publicly traded firms are required, by their investors, to be as profitable as possible at all times even if that means doing things that are not environmentally friendly.  Therefore, the public has to give these corporations the latitude to, at least for a relatively short period of time, not be as profitable while they transition to more sustainable methods of delivering energy.
Peter Smithson
There needs to be a global understanding of the quandary that energy companies are in.  In one instance they have to do what is right for their investors, and also do what is right for the environment.  Surprisingly, the very investors that are demanding profits above all else are also the ones that want these companies to be environmentally friendly.  Unfortunately, most investors would simply force the company to figure out the monumental task of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy without ever considering a possible a momentary slowdown of record breaking profits.  The ability to improve our water ways and oceans is up to us.  Fortunately, once we realize that we are contributing to the reckless nature in which corporations deal with the environment we can have a cleaner planet.

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