Environmentally Smart

I think what it takes to turn around the Titanic and avoid total environmental collapse is a mixture of financial incentives and education. Yes, there are many ways in which you could get people to make the not-so-obvious choice if it were financially worthwhile. But I think there are many ways in which people could do good if only they knew about it or understood how easy it was to make a difference. So in addition to financial incentives, we need education. Instead of subsidizing climate collapse and big, wasteful industry, the government should play an active role in environmental education ranging from sending out community bulletins to having broadcasting programs and advertising on television. One big problem with “breaking the routine” is ignorance of the alternatives. Read the opening paragraph of this World Watch Institute article. It will make you smile and slap yourself. But it’s sooooo true.

Another quote from this article touches on something very fundamental.

“… Ordinary risk analysis asks, ‘How much environmental damage will be allowed?’ But the precautionary principle asks, ‘How little damage is possible?’ …”

Resource conservation and environmental protection shouldn’t be an afterthought, shouldn’t be all about end-of-pipe technology. It should be deeply ingrained in the whole process of the economy. To paraphrase the above: we shouldn’t be concerned with making a product and cleaning up the mess when we’re done. We should be concerned with making a product that is inherently non-messy. Not only is that morally (ethically) superior but it also cuts out the time, energy, and money spend first making the mess and then cleaning it up.


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