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2084      The grandchildren’s puzzle



The Exploitation



Milking the cow, squeezing the lemon


Tell me the difference between milking a cow and squeezing a lemon. Do not mind the taste or the color, think about the action itself: in both cases you exploit a natural resource, but whether in the first case you can milk the cow again and again, when you have squeezed the fruit once, you cannot do it again: you throw the ‘skin’ and the lemon is gone. O.K., I admit that this time the comparison is not so elegant, but forget for a moment about the lemon tree, and that you buy your milk at the supermarket…

Exploitation is, basically, taking some good from someone or someplace, without giving anything valuable in return: no money, no work, no… love – yes, the taking-giving game is not necessarily a materialistic one. There is nothing wrong with exploitation, as far as you don’t harm the exploited. I will say more: sometimes you do harm, but it’s still O.K., when the exploited is acquiescent.  Parents and lovers know frequently that feeling with their children and beloved ones. Hebrew has a beautiful expression on regard: “The cow wants to nurse more than the calf wants to suckle”.

Speaking of exploitation of the natural resources, an example of ‘milking the cow’ is raising crops: we must plow, prune, manure etc., in a word we must take care of our land. Drilling oil, on the other hand is like squeezing an lemon: we just take from Mother Earth, returning only… the ‘skin’, in form of non recyclable organic waste (i.e. plastics) and carbon oxides. Waste is certainly a big problem, and many of ours are acquainted with it, though the real problem might be a different one: that we do not understand where the boundary between ‘milking the cow’ and ‘squeezing the lemon’ is.

I will enter into details in the following paragraphs; meanwhile just think of the possible results of such confusion… Did you ever try to drink a milk shake after squeezing lemon juice in it? I hope you did not. And if you did it, almost certainly you got nausea.



Weekend and Sabbatical crop.


“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis)


To avoid exploitation of the strong over the weak, lawmakers made the rule a cardinal commandment:

“Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.”


Long time ago, at the beginning of Agriculture, men paid attention also to the fact that if they grew a crop year after year in some field, after a number of seasons the land’s yield fell down. The farmers understood that in order to gain a good yield, it was necessary to let the land rest and regain strength, exactly like men and animals.

Wise men established appropriate rules and wrote them in the Sacred Book of the Law:


“And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:

But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.” (Exodus).


Rules have changed in modern times...  Sorry, not finished yet !

(This paragraph explains howMother Earth is doing overwork. We are squeezing her, not letting her rest even for a moment. Soon she will be exausted or she will protest with a strike).



The dustbin bottom


We are exploiting the natural reserves, without giving Nature the time to regenerate them…

Sorry, not finished yet !

(This paragraph will make a budget balance: how much is left of the natural reserves, versus how many unnatural, unhealthy substances we are adding to our natural environment. Soon we will be left only with the garbage at the dustbin bottom).


Cheap dirty power versus expensive clean energy


The power need of mankind is rising steadily, because we depend on it to create and sustain around us an artificial world. Nobody in the civilized world is capable anymore to live without electricity…

Sorry, not finished yet !

(The use of fossil fuel is relatively cheap, but clearly exacerbating the Greenhouse Effect. We do not prepare ourseves to the future, by developing now high-cost alternative energy sources. Instead of putting savings aside, we are mortgaging our granchildren’s future).