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Column: Dialogue will help environment, business

For something as clean as protecting the environment, the debate that takes place between scientists and the business world can be dirty.

For something as clean as protecting the environment, the debate that takes place between scientists and the business world can be dirty.

When U.S. President Donald Trump was asked, “Who will protect the environment?” he replied: “We’ll be fine with the environment; we can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.”

Here lies the problem with this debate today.

What can we do that will protect the environment while simultaneously having a strong economy without any fossil fuels? Lots of the negativity is being generated from the business community when discussing such problems as climate change. Many can get defensive and argue the laws are to hurt them. Or they ask how they will make their money and provide for their families?

These are good questions. Protecting the environment does not have to come at the cost of business. It is safe to say that without the environment, there will be no business to do, so how do we get the best of both worlds? Humans need to invest in our planet and do so quickly.

Climate change can be tricky as you cannot see its effects right away. Every time you use your car, you don’t see the temperature rise or an iceberg melting away, so you don’t see what damage is done to the Earth until it is too late. Getting people on board with changing their habits to fix something that they can’t see is difficult.

First, tax breaks and other incentives can be used to urge people to make the switch. People will not change their mind without such actions benefiting them.

Allowing for research to be done and investing in the sciences will open a world of possibilities that clean energy can provide for us. Not only can we create new ways of getting energy but we can continue strengthening what we have in place for clean energy.

These will create new jobs and new opportunities for business. Since one of the biggest concerns is our energy, creating a whole new energy source and promoting new clean energy companies could see new investing opportunities.

Fossil fuel use is not sustainable for the long term. But having a company in something like clean, renewable energy could be beneficial. Not only are you protecting the Earth but your business plan does not have to have an end. Oil will run out, so will coal, but with renewable, clean energy, it doesn’t have to.

The road to sustainability is not an easy one. But time and time again we get politics mixed up with our environmental needs. The time for pointing fingers at people and blaming one group or the other is over.

Having an open dialogue about the environment in a respectful manner is the first step on the road to our planet being clean and our businesses booming.

Selena Niccoli is a Douglas College student writing for her environmental sociology class.