You may remember LaFontaine's fable of the ant that strategically planned its food reserves during the summer in preparation for winter, and the playful grasshopper who ended up without food because it played all summer long.
Short-cuts don't always work, and it often takes hindsight to realize it. We have taken many short-cuts on environmental and agricultural issues in favor of quick monetary gain. Whether fracking, pesticides, factory farming or a host of other quagmires, the money comes quick, but then.....there is always always always an ugly hidden cost, and in the end it costs much more.
Take the recent dramatic drop in oil and gas prices, which almost immediately led to people buying fewer electric and fuel efficient cars. While buying that less expensive vehicle right now, deferring getting those solar panels or better insulated windows, or delaying insulating your house, may indeed save you money this year, the long-term consequences are no savings. Take the purchase of solar panels for example. Payback is around 6-8 years. That means that after 6 to 8 years your electricity will be free for the life of the panels, which is around 20 years or so. So you get 12 years of free electricity! And keep in mind that the cost of electricity keeps going up. In addition you are helping to cut down on the pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, which contributes to the warming of our planet. Win-win for all.
The hook? It requires an investment and a short-term material sacrifice in favor of long-term environmental and monetary gain. What's so bad about that? You do the same for retirement. You sacrifice something now for gain down the road.
Think like the ant, think long-term!