The answer is definitely both! Take, for example, the decision to litter. The short term consequence is that the streets are now filled with some debris — trash, which is unsightly and basically just makes a mess of the place (especially when it all adds up)… This doesn’t necessarily have a direct environmental consequence (at first), but when the trash ends up in a habitat, it can disrupt normal plant growth by suffocating and shading plants from sunlight. This does have an environmental consequence because plants are respirators for the earth — they give us clean oxygen — so, in effect, littering can end up being the same thing as choking out the earth (and all of us oxygen breathers)…. but longer down the road the consequences can be even more deadly. Usually litter winds up getting into the water system — it can clog up a city’s water treatment facility and cost us lots of money — or it can find its way into a natural waterway (a stream leads to a river leads to the ocean) and there it winds up harming swimming species directly. So the long term consequence of throwing something out the window when your driving so you don’t make a mess of your car is that you are possibly poisoning or choking a fish or other animal of the sea! We have to think before we act—- and the basic truth of the matter is that so many bad decisions have already been made that we need to take it upon ourselves now to start to undo some of the damage that others before us have already caused. That’s why I am an advocate of natural restoration projects and neighborhood clean-up acts — to get the trash put away safely before it has a chance to really harm the earth and living species (in the long run it all comes back to us—that’s why the earth is a sphere—to set up karma [what goes around comes around]). Be wary my friends!
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