As I watched a screening of Josh Fox’s documentary GasLand, about natural gas extraction by means of a hydraulic drilling process called “fracking,” it struck me just how often we allow short-term greed to stand in the way of what is best for everyone over the long term.

Natural gas has been billed as a “clean” form of energy. But, when it is extracted from the ground through fracking, it can contaminate nearby water supplies, pollute the air and lead to serious health impacts on the humans and animals who live nearby.

So many say they want clean energy–but what people really mean is they want clean energy as long as it doesn’t cost too much. Unfortunately everything has a cost. The question is when you pay. From wind to solar to coal, each form of energy comes with at least some sort of negative impact on the environment and to the people who live nearby.

The same goes for ensuring that everyone has a job at a livable wage–all well and good until it hits our finances in the short-term. We fail to see that what may appear to be the cheap way out ends up being far more costly over time. Our society is only as strong as the workers who support us.