The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): How can we encourage factories and companies in poor areas to prioritize the health of the local environment over having the greatest profit margins and the lowest costs? How can we motivate them for this kind of a change, when the natural tendency of human nature is to prioritize greed above all else, profit over regulation?
Acharya Prashant (AP): You see, I don’t think you can tackle this in isolation. Though you could bring about suitable legislation — you could treat, for example, the climate as a person, and the climate could have its own rights. Just as there are fundamental rights given to persons, similarly treat the climate as a person and give it rights, and if those rights are violated, there would be penalties.
So, that’s a route you could take, and that’s an effective route that should be taken, but I don’t think even this is going to be very effective. It must be done, but even if done it will have limited effectiveness, though it’s one of the things that we should begin with. Recently a South American country brought about changes in its constitution; they actually overhauled their entire constitution and the constitution is now almost founded on giving great rights to the climate, to the various animal and bird species, and it’s a document worth emulating. I think a lot of countries in the coming years will take inspiration from it and actually need to take inspiration from it. So, that could be done.
But profit is profit, greed is greed. And when we do not respect the rights of sentient beings, people in flesh and blood we can see and talk to, how will we respect the rights of something a little abstract like the climate? The climate is not going to come and talk to you and plead to you as a person, and the climate is not going to sue you on its own; somebody needs to act on behest of the climate as a proxy. So, I don’t think we are going to be very respectful towards the climate on our own, even though the right legislations are important and must be there.
So, what to do then? You know, you need to tell people. There has to be the right kind of knowledge. What is happening is, we are in the middle of an information revolution, right? We all know we…