Bayou Calvinist

A Somewhat Eclectic Discussion by a Law Student Concerning All of Today's Major Topics, as well as, a Few Not So Major Topics

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A More "Realist"ic Environmentalism?


A few weeks ago I posed the question whether it is possible to be both a conservative (a.k.a. favoring less government intervention) and an environmentalist. My main conclusion was that most environmental groups think the answer to pollution and the destruction of both wildlife and their habitats lay with the government imposing ever greater restrictions on human activity from on high. This type of thinking is found in environmental legislation and international treaties such as Kyoto. Being a person who loves nature as much as the next guy and realizes the grave importance of its conservation for humanity, but who at the same time is wary of overburdensome governmental authority in peoples everyday activities, I questioned whether perhaps I would have to give up one of these beliefs so as to maintain the other. Essentially I wondered, how could I be a "conservative conservationist?" Should I follow the model of groups such as Republicans for Environmental Protection, which (as far as I'm able to tell) essentially adopts watered down versions of the views held by the Sierra Club or the Green Party? Or should I turn into the hapless and I would argue unfair caricature of the big business Republican defending every "selfish" individual desire, just so long as Washington remained hands off? The answer to my conundrum was to be found, quite by accident when I came across another blog devoted almost totally to a new way of thinking about environmental problems known as the commonsblog.org. The commons argued that the only way to effectively conserve the environment was to find a way in which free market theories could be used for environmental conservation. This would, they argued, work with human nature and not seek to return man to a romanticized view of pre-industrial society (which by the way was never as in sinc with the surrounding environment as some would have you beleive) forcing all of humanity to make large individual sacrifices for what would be percieved by them as negligible personal benefit; And all out of a sense of some unkown, altruistic, humanist faith.
Of course being neither an expert in environmental science nor in human behavior, I do not pretend to know the exact method of structuring environmental conservation regulations in order to harness the power of individual desires. Nor do I completely right off the need for direct governmental intervention in certain areas of the conservation fight. I, instead, believe that by looking at environmentalism in this new light ("new" is subjective of course, and such thoughts have been around quite some time now) both the environment and conservative thought may benefit.

An article which better states my point of view, though perhaps more ambiguously (certainly more in debth), can be found at the following site:
http://www.chem.brown.edu/chem12/readings/atlantic/china/selfish.htm.

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