There's an ongoing debate about the need for recharge wells that we're trying to sink in our apartment complex. During this, someone threw in, "I would like to know what the ROI on this is."
This is a question thats brought into many debates – including some at my earlier jobs – as a red herring. Its often done without homework, or imagination, or creative, proactive thought.??
For instance, to continue with the case for water itself :
How valuable is water??? 10/- a litre ? How much would you be willing to pay if there weren't any ? Thats starting to happen to Bangalore! How do you calculate a number for this ? Intuitively, and with some homework about Bangalore's water situation, the answer is reasonably clear – we all need to turn producers, not just consumers of this dwindling resource, and recharge from stormwater drains is a major strategy thats part of this. It also counters a lot of the runoff losses caused by the concretization of surfaces, and its proven to be faster than shallow, surface level water recharging as is done through lakes etc.??
There's also the question of priorities. Whats the ROI on your car ? The fuel it uses ? The LED TV you've bought ? Sure, the answer is likely that its what I choose for myself and the satisfaction and happiness it provides me. But very similar to the same sentiment is the set of choices we make collectively, and the satisfaction those will provide to us collectively. There's also the responsibility that we have collectively that we should not, and increasingly, cannot shirk just because there's a Government.??
Think a little, and you'll see that the ROI question is moot.
I'd opined earlier why I thought apartment living might be unsustainable in the medium term, and now I add one more reason to it – the hardening of the consumer attitudes of our society as a whole. It's unfair to blame individuals for it, for we've moved in this direction as a whole. Our sense of entitlement, and resistance to having to do things ourselves has trounced all other attributes. We live together as a community, locality, city, state, but see ourselves more or less independently, only banding together reactively for certain causes. Go to store-pick from shelf-checkout is our sum total of actions towards living, society and the world around us. Anything else must forst prove its ROI in hard numbers.