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Photo Credit: Jimmy Angel

The Opportunity Cost vs. The Cost of THE Opportunity

The Subject

The Amazonian rainforest is the largest of its kind in the world with 6 million km2, followed by the Congolese rainforest with almost 2 million km2, and 5 others that do not reach 1 million km2 when combined. Tropical rainforests once covered 14% of earth’s land surface; today they’re down to 6% even though they still host 80% of the world’s biodiversity.

Home to over half the world’s documented species, rainforests absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping maintain a balance in the air we breathe while simultaneously playing a critical role in curbing global warming.

Photo Credit: Britannica

Photo Credit: Britannica

The Symptoms

Global warming, being the most obvious consequence of the astonishingly rising level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly carbon dioxide and methane, is responsible for the progressively increasing temperatures and global climate change. These greenhouse gas emissions (especially carbon dioxide) can be broken down into specifics like energy 25%, industry 15%, transportation 15%, agriculture 14%, fugitive emissions 12%, land use and change 12%, industrial processes and waste 7%.

Orchestrated wildfires are considered within this breakdown under the land use and change category (12%), yet seasonal or spontaneous wildfires alter this breakdown without any remorse. There are no seasonal fires in the Amazon basin like in the Siberian planes, therefore, the Amazonian wildfires are considered as rehearsed in the benefit of lumber, illegal logging, and agricultural activities. The Brazilian Amazon has been subjected to an increase in deforestation activities of at least 60% since Jair Bolsonaro took over power in January 2019.

Photo Credit: Guadalupe Pardo/AP

Photo Credit: Guadalupe Pardo / AP

The Prognosis

According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s landmark report presented during the Paris Conference, we only have 12 years to limit climate change to a max. of 1.5*C increase, otherwise living conditions would worsen significantly, eventually facing total coral reef devastation and vast disappearance of the arctic ice plate among other natural effects that would, in turn, cause mass migrations, massive cuts into governmental budgets, pandemics, and war.

As technological development accelerates because of R&D practices becoming the rule, technology has allowed a slow migration from the burning of fossil fuels, to solar and wind-powered energy to be in place for a few years now. This transition, along with an increasing set of new trends about organic, sustainable, low-carbon print, vegan, biodegradable, plant-based, recyclable, and greener options being adopted by even more growing segments, are changing cultural and consumer behavior, which seems to paint a better-looking picture for the upcoming future.

Photo Credit: Getty - Contributor

The Treatment

The situation as it stands is not one that requires a careful decision as to what to approach so we won’t fail, it’s more like a ‘we need a sum of efforts in every direction’ so we won’t fail.

The migration towards cleaner sources of energy and changes regarding cultural and consumer behavior appear to be unstoppable, although not urgent enough, and the responsibility of pulling the ‘emergency-break’ on global warming can’t lie exclusively on the shoulders of consumers but majorly on those who are willing to engage as providers in a market’s economy, even though there are only variables and just one constant being unsustainability.

Photo Credit: Getty - Contributor

Photo Credit: Getty - Contributor


Equilibrium and balance are apparently the answer, and hope might lie within the spirit of the ‘new entrepreneurs’ as emerging hybrid figures that share both, the passion for business, and the appreciation for natural balance, especially the environment’s. The ‘pragmatic entrepreneur’, a visionary who sees opportunities within the crisis, and approaches business with radical ideas requiring lots of R&D and technology to actually help revert climate change (capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and such), and the ‘sensitive entrepreneur’, who might not have everything solved beforehand in regards to sustainable practices, sources, etc., but the important aspect is that is aware of nature’s horrific statistics and is willing to give back and somehow compensate for his own faults, by partnering up with global NGOs dedicated to rainforest conservation efforts like Cool Earth or Amazon Watch, in order to put his own grain of sand towards the accomplishment of the UN millennium goals.

Photo Credit: Getty - Contributor


The Prerogative

So the dilemma lies within ourselves regarding what are we willing to consciously sacrifice in order to sum our efforts as particulars, but also what costs are we willing to put up with as social entities.

Would we conform and assume the opportunity cost of doing nothing in detriment of the planet and all living beings, or invest financing the costs required to tackle the opportunity within the gap to invest in whatever technology necessary that could help revert the damage done, allowing for a slow recovery while doing business in an alternative way? The difference between those is only life as we know it.

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