Good Intentions and the Environment

One lesson I have learned in my life is good intentions do not always equate to good results. Many times choices are much more complicated than they appear on the surface, and the unintended consequences of an action, even if the intentions of that action were good, can make a situation worse than they were initially.

This sad principle is fairly common when it comes to protecting the environment. One example of this is bio-fuels. Originally intended to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and lower pollution, bio-fuels offered a what seemed to be a perfect solution to our energy needs. Instead of relying on oil and coal, we could simply grow our own energy in the form of corn and other bio-fuel crops. On the surface bio-fuels looked great, but then the unintended consequences began to come to light.

The demand for corn and other crops in the energy sector has led to higher food prices, fertilizer used to grow the crops used to create bio-fuels have polluted rivers and lakes, and millions of acres of grasslands have been plowed and converted into croplands. These unintended consequences have even led the UN to say bio-fuels can cause more harm than good when it comes to the environment.

The intentions behind the use and expansion of bio-fuels were good. We wanted to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and clean up the environment, but those good intentions did not pan out. This begs the question: what other good intentions will have unintended negative consequences? Helping the environment is important, and everyone should be involved; however, good intentions are not enough, results are what truly matter.