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Been thinking a lot about this, and really appreciate this article.
It's a little harsh on us liberals, but he has some very goood points. I just
heard an interview with Carl Pope where he essentially blamed the failures of
the environment on the rise of the conservative movement...he pretty muched
aligned environment with Liberal. Certainly a lot of environmentalists are
liberals...or progressives as I prefer to be labled...but it is an issue beyond
conservative or liberal. It is like when conservatives claim they are the party
that supports the troops, but more congressional democrats have served in the
military than republicans. Progressives may disagree with how troops are used,
but even a lefty like Micheal Moore honors the service and sacrifice they make
for our country.
So, although I am a total Austin progressive, on the environment I am
non-partisan. If Christine Todd Whitman wants to sign Kyoto, or Richard Nixon
forms the EPA I am all for them.
I totally agree with the author that we WILL NOT solve the environmental
challenges of the future with regulation. Regulation has almost reached it's
maximum point of effectiveness. Furthermore, the regs can often be
counterproductive. They can discourage materials exchange or other solutions.
Regulations by their nature are black and white...so you can only go so far with
command and control. Innovative programs that encourage and educate will carry
us to the next step.
If there are any conservatives on this list, I would say it is your duty to make
sure that encouraging innovation is not just a slick way of allowing companies
to run rampant. I have seen this many times, where someone says "we are going
to encourage voluntary environmental efforts" for companies that are belching
toxins into nearby neighborhoods. It undercuts public trust and makes it hard
to lighten regulation.
Unfortunately, I doubt there are conservatives on this list. This is our
failure as people who support a broad approach to environmental protection.
Quoting David Biddle <Dbiddle@no.address>:
> This is worth reading. And, no, I do not agree with the author. Life is a
> bit more complicated than free marketeers seem to think.
> Posted on Thu, May. 05, 2005: (from The Philadelphia Inquirer)
> Conservative conservation
> Jonah Goldberg is a nationally syndicated columnist
> There are conservatives who love the environment - more of them than you
> might realize. More important, young conservatives are willing to fight for
> the environmentalist label, and that's a sign of progress.
> For decades, a certain type of environmentalist has laid exclusive claim to
> this set of concerns, terming anyone who disagreed with them as
> "anti"-environment. It was a twist on the "for-the-children" gambit devised
> by Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children's Defense Fund. She
> discovered that you can push favored policies further if you claim they are
> "for the children." Thanks to this insight, the same old tired suite of
> Fabian programs were recast as efforts "for the children," and anybody who
> opposed them became, in effect, anti-child.
> For years, environmentalists have done the same thing with their favored
> policies. Even though recycling is often a monstrous waste of time, energy
> and money, the Greens have insisted that if you don't separate your plastic
> from your paper, you are "against" the environment.
> The truth is that nobody is anti-environment. I have lots and lots of
> conservative friends and colleagues. I go to many of the most sinister
> right-wing meetings and parties. I've simply never heard anybody say they
> want to hurt the environment. No matter how many pave-the-planet jokes
> conservatives tell to annoy liberals, the truth is none of them really wants
> to. Some may not care that much one way or the other. But if given a
> cost-free option to maintain clean water, clean air and prospering
> ecosystems, there's really not a conservative - with his marbles intact -
> who wouldn't leap at it.
> In other words, all of the serious arguments are about means, not ends. For
> decades, Greens have insisted their means - heavy-handed government command
> and control - were the only way to those ends. Obviously, there are some
> exceptions: Some organizations have raised money to buy land and then manage
> it themselves. But at the national level, where impressions are formed, the
> enviros have become indistinguishable from any other special-interest group
> that wants the government to do its bidding.
> Don't take my word for it - google "The Death of Environmentalism" by
> Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus. "We believe," write these two
> respected veteran liberal Greens, "that the environmental movement's
> foundational concepts, its method for framing legislative proposals, and its
> very institutions are outmoded. Today, environmentalism is just another
> special interest. Evidence for this can be found in its concepts, its
> proposals, and its reasoning."
> The authors' remedies aren't necessarily my cup of tea, but they clearly
> recognize the political problem their movement faces. For decades,
> environmentalists have relied on scare tactics and doomsday scenarios that
> never had any chance of becoming true. Does anybody remember Paul Ehrlich's
> prediction that 65 million Americans would die of starvation by the early
> 1980s? If you haven't checked, obesity is a much bigger problem than
> The future of environmental success is to move away from romantic
> gobbledygook about Gaia and semi-pagan mumbo jumbo about communing with
> nature, and instead to foster a more mature understanding of costs and
> benefits. The great flaw in conventional environmentalism has always been
> its view of capitalism and, to a lesser extent, technology as enemies of all
> things Green. This way of looking at the world comes from the Industrial
> Revolution, with its belching smokestacks and poisoned air and waterways.
> It's no coincidence that the Industrial Revolution gave birth to both
> romantic environmentalism and socialism.
> It's also no coincidence that socialism's environmental track record is a
> disaster. Which is why governments around the world are crafting
> environmental policies that "monetize" resources, recognizing that people
> tend to take care of things they own better than things nobody owns. If a
> fisherman knows that his competitor will grab any fish he leaves behind, he
> will in all likelihood grab as many as he can. When everybody subscribes to
> this "tragedy-of-the-commons" logic, there are no fish left for anybody.
> That's one reason why many global fish stocks are in danger of crashing. But
> if you sell someone exclusive rights to fish in a certain area, he will
> leave enough fish behind for another day. This is why many governments are
> moving in the direction of assigning property rights to all sorts of
> environmental resources, from fisheries to wetlands, with very encouraging
> Obviously, not every problem can be solved through tax credits or property
> rights, but the exciting solutions these days are coming from the people at
> least willing to entertain that possibility.
> David Biddle, Executive Director
> P.O. Box 4037
> Philadelphia, PA 19118
> 215-432-8225 (mobile)
> Read In Business magazine to learn about sustainable
> businesses in communities across North America!
> Go to: <http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jgpress/>
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