Short term gain, Long term loss.
In our current system long term thinking is all but impossible. Our economic and social systems are probably intentionally geared to discourage long term thinking. The media never discuss the effects of our current behavior on people living in one or two hundred years discussed. And one or two hundred years is a relatively short term mindset. If we were to give equal weight to the lives of people born in say 2107 then we would have to seriously reconsider what actions we take right now.
Why I think this is important is I think the same sort of thinking dominates left wing politics and mainstream environmentalism in New Zealand. I think all our campaigns are focused on short term gains with no thought to the long term. If we took into account the workers in say 2060 then I think we might see some serious opposition to climate change by unions.
The tension between workers and the environment is very much a short term tension. Viewed over a slightly longer timeframe it is pretty obvious that destruction of the environment is bad for all workers. It is only when we limit the discussion to the present that we can argue about whether or not we can have power plants, cheap food or cars with a straight face.
In the long term what is best for us is what is best for our land base. But the transition to a sustainable way of living would hurt. So our culture as a whole and most left wing protest is still aimed at maximizing our lifestyle at the present with little or no regard for the future.