Three Options

Concerned about pollution? Do as the rich folks; buy a private island far away from the mess.

According to my father-in-law, Ralph, whenever we are facing a difficult situation we have three choices:
1. Change it
2. Live with it
3. Walk away from it
For example, say that my roommate does not clean his mess in the living room after himself. I have three options:
  1. Persuade my roommate to be neat and tidy.
  2. Clean the mess myself.
  3. Move to a different apartment with a new roommate.
The first option is the best solution but also is generally the most difficult to undertake. Sometimes a lot of persistence is needed to change difficult situations. This is the case when the problem lies beyond my circle of influence as in the example. At the end of the day, it is up to my roommate to change.

The second option is the easiest to execute but, is also the most dangerous one. It is easy because it is always simpler to change myself than to change the whole world. The problem is that I could become resentful due to a feeling of injustice. Chances are that I could become annoyed over time from picking up dirty dishes and empty cans of beer.

The third option is sometimes the only option when the first two don’t work.  I must be careful though, I could find myself under the same situation later on. This could be the case if the problem lies within me and I carry it wherever I go. Changing roommates may be an attractive and workable option unless… it is me who is overly obsessed with neatness and tidiness.

People’s reaction to the environmental mess is following the same pattern. Some radical fools are trying to make a change by reducing their consumption levels or refusing to buy plastic. Most of us are coping with it in congested, filthy and polluted cities and towns 1. Finally, the super-rich are moving away to private islands and ranches in unspoiled mountains.

The attitude of the rich and powerful is what strikes me the most. They seem to ignore that some environmental problems, like CO2 emissions, will not respect their private property fences. Reading People Magazine makes me wonder if in reality they are aliens. Moving back to their home planet must be what they are thinking of doing next.

(1)   Living conditions due to pollution are especially bad among the poor in developing countries.

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