If children are the future, the kids fighting the pollution giants that the Obama administration is backing are great representatives of what that future could look like. However, the children represented by Our Children’s Trust are facing the might of money without morals. The laissez-faire economic model that the government has gravitated toward in the past decades has wreaked havoc on the environment because, in the business world, any constraint on the bottom line, even for the greater good, is labeled as a “job killer” and bad for the country—perhaps even unpatriotic.
In some ways, these kids’ campaign to protect the environment even to the detriment of the bottom line of businesses mirrors the ongoing conflict of Americans to recognize immigrants as human beings and think about what people lose when they have to leave their families behind. The common argument for opponents of immigration reform, just like for opponents of environmental reform, is the impact reform may have on jobs.
While jobs may be affected by environmental reform in one state, jobs may grow in the green energy field in New Jersey, for instance. Similarly, New Jersey immigration may create more jobs in particular sectors, such as manual labor, that may be short on able-bodied employees at this time. An influx of laborers could, in fact, have a positive effect on the environment—if more goods are produced manually, there will be less need for oil and fewer polluting processes related to automated machinery.
Perhaps children such as the ones from Our Children’s Trust are the keys to making all of the important future reforms that the U.S. needs to make to stop or at least reduce global warming. In any case, Americans can learn a lot from this exemplary group of children, including the idea of approaching such wide-reaching reforms “on the macro level,” as the organization described its approach. Instead of addressing problems in the same ways that they have been addressed historically, such as making progress in fields like manufacturing based on new automation methods, Americans should look forward to making progress in new ways, even if that progress may at first entail a step back from the way manufacturing is currently done.
If the current methods do not work without destroying the environment, then they should not be in place, and companies should invest in finding healthier and cleaner solutions to replace those methods. Until new methods are found, however, manufacturers should be willing to return to more environmentally friendly methods, including employing more manual laborers.
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