Monday, March 23, 2009

We Can't Afford NOT to Invest in Environmental Protection

Nice article by Bob Bendick on the Nature Conservancy's conservation blog today, responding to the question of "whether the United States can afford to spend money on environmental protection during a time of economic crisis."
It is, of course, entirely understandable that in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the beginning of the environmental movement in the early 1970s, people, when asked to choose between the environment and the economy, choose the economy. They are, with good reason, afraid — worried sick about whether they will have a job next week, will be able to pay their mortgage, their utility bill, their children’s tuition. The problem for the future of both Earth’s environment and its people is not with the answer, but with the question.

The media and pollsters thrive on exposing conflict, fault lines that produce drama in the headlines or in the executive summaries of the polls. The environment vs. economy choice is convenient but specious. If one asked the question differently – “which is more important, our ability to grow food to feed our families, to have safe air to breathe, enough clean water to drink, shelter from raging storms or the current level of the Dow Jones Industrial average?” — how many folks would choose the stock market? ...

The environment as a luxury? If the speculative bubble of our unsustainable use of Earth’s resources bursts, nature and people will suffer the collapse together.

Read the rest here.

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