Jobs vs Environment

Was reading an article about the number of oil spill incidents involving some well-known Canadian companies — which the news source was framing as another jobs vs environment tradeoff. Guess that in their minds if one wants a good environment then there will be no jobs, etc.

I have heard this view expressed many times over the years but there seems to be a fundamental fallacy at play. That there is a trade-off between jobs and the environment. I am more inclined to think that the gradient is more along the lines of maintaining a good environment means jobs for a long time. Whereas wrecking the environment may seem to provide more jobs but for a much shorter period. Sooner or later the poisoned air, water and land will catch up with us. It is not like we could just walk over the next hill and start over. So not fouling our nest is really in our own best long term interests. Working towards a cleaner environment would provide more jobs not fewer — after all, someone has to pick up the trash, metaphorically speaking. And the other work still has to be done.

No, I think at the root the real issue is that money spent on jobs is not money going into executive salaries and bonuses. It is the same sad tale of greed and short-term interests disguised as social concern.

And given the huge numbers of unemployed coupled with the piles of cash on corporate balance sheets and an unchecked environmental deterioration, it is a testimony to how degraded a society we have become.

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