If This, Then That

If only we teach the hungry to grow their own food, they will solve world hunger.

If only we educate farmers about the effects of pesticides, they will clean our planet.

If only we inform timber company executives about global warming, they will stop clear-cutting rain forests.

If only we teach tolerance to religious zealots, sectarian violence will end.

Or, maybe, the hungry will grow fat

Maybe the farmer will import non-native insect predators that will devastate local ecosystems.

Maybe the timber company executives will invest in Amazonian sex slavery rings.

Maybe the religious zealots will teach that tolerance of genocide is the only true word of God.

We can’t always know the effects of our actions.  Unintended consequences abound.  I remember when wind energy was widely heralded as an absolutely “clean” solution to dependence on hydrocarbons.  But, today, loathing of wind farms grows with the wind-turbine blade death of every migrating bird.  Every community meeting about wind-power electrical distribution lines generates heat and hate.

So many solutions create their own problems.  Instead of mitigating the problems, though, people tend to blame problem-solvers who, in turn, become overly protective of their ideas and unwilling to modify the solution.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to If This, Then That

  1. Holly Forrest says:

    Reminds me of those great Sting lyrics:
    I never saw no miracle of science
    That didn’t go from a blessing to a curse
    I never saw no military solution
    That didn’t always end up as something worse but
    Let me say this first

    If I ever lose my faith in you
    There’d be nothing left for me to do

  2. Pauline, it’s no coincidence that “grackle” and “cackle” are so similar!

  3. It seems as if i remember hearing about the damage to birds when power lines were first put in. Then they added insulation or something so that now birds gather on power lines and laugh at humans who are caught in the stoplight where the birds are meeting….

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