We use the words "cost" and "price" interchangeably to describe the amount of money needed in order to purchase an item or an experience. For this discussion, I am going to ask you to think of the "cost" as the amount listed on the price tag. Let's think of the "price" as something different. For this discussion, let's consider "price" to be the hidden burdens on both humans and the earth that we probably don't consider when thinking of the "cost" of an item.
With today's ever-apparent climate crisis, it is more and more important to examine "cost" versus "price". It's something worth thinking about as consumers. A steak may "cost" us $10, but the price of that steak may be so much greater.... as evidence has shown that our current industrial farming method of raising beef cattle is a huge contributor of greenhouse gasses, specifically methane. An item of clothing may cost $30, but the price is much greater when you consider the water used, the polluting by-products and the humans used to manufacture that garment for less than a livable wage.
There is a price that we pay for everything that we consume.... from the houses that we build, to the clothes that we wear, the food we eat, and our entertainment. Certainly, all of those things costs us hard-earned cash, but the price of them is even greater! From pollution, to consumption of raw materials, to slave labor in third-world countries... the ultimate price is something of which we need to be aware. Certainly, we can live with much less than we have - and believe me, I am pointing a finger at myself as well.
Unfortunately, completely reworking how we meet our basic needs will not happen quickly, but hopefully a gradual shift (as quickly as possible) can be made. For today's discussion, however, I want to focus on one specific thing. It's something quite costly- reserved only for the super-wealthy - but the price is one that no-one can afford.
You might be aware that Wednesday evening, SpaceX sent a rocket beyond our atmosphere to orbit the earth for three days. Its crew is all civilian - the third such flight this year - thus launching a new era of Space Tourism. The flight was chartered by a 38-year-old billionaire for himself and three others that were chosen by contests or lottery. The cost: undisclosed. The price? unimaginable!
There are enormous environmental impacts to these flights - resources used, emissions from burning fuel, as well as impacts on the land, the air, the sea, and wildlife. Rockets are fueled by sub-cooled methane - methane being the major component of natural gas. So not only is burning this fuel an impact with regards to emissions, but obtaining the fuel (typically by fracking) has its own environmental side effects.
To the billionaires who can afford the cost of these flights, I ask: if you have a few extra hundred million to blow, how about doing something that benefits all of humanity? Isn't relieving some human suffering, or helping to assure that our children have a future here on Earth more satisfying than orbiting the earth just so that you can say that you did it?
Elon Musk claims that his program is aimed at eventually sending humans to live on Mars. And while this might sound like the best option should we have to eventually leave the planet that we have systematically been destroying, Mars is less than inhabitable. Recent studies have shown that the radiation in Mars' atmosphere is too great for human life. So, really, Mr. Musk - what are we really trying to accomplish?
It's all food for thought... I encourage you to consider "cost" versus "price". None of us would remotely consider a space flight, but still, we can ask ourselves if what we want is worth the price. And though we might be able to afford something, can our planet afford it?
Thanks for listening to my little rant!
On a lighter note, I will leave you with a few smiles from this week....
This big old bullfrog has made a home beneath the pigs' pool.
Lastly, now hanging to dry in the dining room is this large bunch of lemon verbena. Once dry, I will pluck the leaves and store them for use as winter, herbal tea. For now, though, the dining room smells so wonderfully lemony!
Thanks for stopping by the farm on this last day of the blogging week. We'll be back on Monday with more Tales from the Farm. Until then...