Friday, March 05, 2010
A Much Needed Recession
World economy hurt, consumer confidence down, consumption reduced, factories closing doors…but is it all bad news? No, not really, especially if you ask the environmentalists. They are smiling ear to ear. Environmental activists are seeing the economic slow down as the much needed respite Mother Nature needed.
But things won’t stay this way for too long. It is almost certain that the world economy would pick up momentum again. And before it does, environmentalists must ensure that the world economy has changed one of its basic, faulty characteristics: its primary reliance on fossil fuel. That in the next cycle of mad rush higher economic activity should not mean accelerated degradation of our natural environment. One way to protect the environment would be to heavily tax people and corporations smearing the landscape. As an example, oil can and should be taxed at the drilling site to generate enough income to plant trees needed to offset the global warming effect the burning of oil would ultimately produce. All metals and other minerals should similarly be taxed at their mining sites, to generate income to deal with the pollution the extracted products would ultimately generate. The revenue should also be used to educate and empower the indigenous people whose land is being exploited—in Ogoniland, Nigeria; in Sui, Pakistan; in Amazonas, Venezuela; and elsewhere around the world--so that these locals become better custodians of their lands. Creating such safeguards for the environment, in the next five to ten years of restrained economic activity, is a big challenge, but we don’t have a choice. We have been on a suicidal course. Short-term benefits we reap from fast economic growth are offset many times over by the long-term detriments of a fossil fuel based economy. We must make a fundamental change in the nature of our economy, to make sure the next economic upturn won’t push us over the brink of survival.
[Photo courtesy of http://www.umich.edu]