There was a loud knock at my door yesterday. A young woman was standing there with a California Environmental T-shirt on. She was soliciting monetary donations for her cause to "Fight Plastic Pollution". Or something to that effect.
She was pleasant and exuberant and very much wanting my cash! I imagined for a moment all the slammed doors or ignored doorbells she might have had so far today. So I thought for a moment and sat down on my doorstep and asked her a question..
"Why do we pollute?" She looked at me with a look of "I'm not sure what you mean." So I asked her "Has your organization looked at why the behavior of polluting occurs in the first place?" I could see it was a new question. She picked up her pitch with how her group fights for legislation to stop dirty corporations from polluting. She then brought up the Pacific Plastic Patch (a swirl of plastic goo 2x the size of Texas out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean)
I proposed the idea that if "fighting pollution" with money was a working solution would we see a trend of our environmental issues to get better (ie. problems decrease). She agreed. Then I talked about looking at the trends of pollution on the planet and realizing that the Pacific garbage patch and other forms of pollution were actually getting worse over time.
I finally proposed that "As long as polluting is a rewarded behavior it will continue to happen." Meaning that as long as there is a cost saving attribute to dumping our problems vs. dealing with them the trends will continue to get worse. I finally said "If it was no longer profitable to pollute, the behavior would cease." There I asked her to wait a second. I think she was under the impression that I was after my checkbook. I came back with a copy of Zeitgeist Addendum and said, "If you really want to see the trend of pollution to reverse, check out this film. It addresses some root causes of what you're trying to stop.
She was excited to get a movie, and I could see the pondering look on her face. I thanked her for stopping by and she asked for some directions on my street.
I have no idea what will happen next. But it turned out to be a great exchange vs. ignoring the knock at my door. Maybe she'll turn up in the chapter here, who knows?