Will the financial crisis overshadow global warming?
By Digoy Fernandez ONE of the unintended casualties of the present financial crisis is the temporary sidelining of the Global Warming debate from front and center in the attention of the world and its leaders. While understandable, we hope that the world will not lose focus on this very important aspect of our survival as a species on this planet. The falling price of crude oil is welcome, of course. But it may also deflect efforts aimed at conceptualizing and bringing to actual production various alternative fuels and their respective machinery. Low crude prices should not tempt car manufacturers, for example, to keep on producing gas guzzling SUVs, but make them realize that the reprieve may be temporary. In this era of difficult funding and credit, we hope that enough wise financial institutions and foundations find the motivation to support the development of alternative fuels and machines that use them. On the other hand, one unintended beneficiary of the decline in global economic activity and production may be the ability of the planet to regenerate itself. Hopefully, less harmful economic and personal activity would mean less greenhouse gases produced, and a chance to make up for lost time in the battle to clean our air. It will also mean less rapacious use of non-renewable resources as production winds down, and economic necessity forces firms to become more efficient and smart in the use of their resources. Even now, we see signs of a slight decline in the throw-away mentality that has long been the bane of those advocating the wise use of non-renewable resources. Recycle and Reuse may just catch fire with ordinary citizens! Maybe even the sardines and tuna stocks of the world will be given a chance to replenish themselves. Except that hunger and food will probably be the last need of man left, even as we shed off other non essential needs and desires. There is still hope, after all, for the move to alleviate pressure on the world and its resources, even in the face of a financial crisis.
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