I am a big fan of the environment, which is actually why I don’t support many environmental groups. I think many of them are unreasonable in their demands and are more concerned with ideology than finding a good compromise between economic expansion and environmental protection. They oppose job creating projects like the Keystone Pipeline in the name of climate change, even though building the pipeline would not have any significant effect on global warming. If the oil isn’t piped to refineries in the Southern US, it will simply be shipped somewhere else to be refined. So if someone is inevitably going to benefit from the oil boom going on in Canada, why not us? Also, better to refine the oil in America where we have regulations to keep our environment safe than in China where such laws do not exist.
This brings me to my next point. Not only can we find a reasonable balance between economy and environment, but a good economy actually leads to a better environment. It is our wealth as a nation that allows us to afford regulations that make production more expensive in the name of saving nature. Poorer nations like China and India are notorious for having heavily polluted air as their nations develop. But a rich country like America can afford to put restrictions on pollution without significantly harming business. Perhaps an example will clarify my point.
It has become popular among younger, richer people to buy “sustainable” goods. These products range from food that is grown on farms that operate with the goal of minimal environmental impact, to locally made bath products. The catch is that these products are more expensive than less environmentally conscious made goods. In a poorer nation like China people would not be able to afford such expensive products, but in a rich nation like America people can afford the extra expense that comes along with saving the environment.
The point here is that environmentalists should be less ideological in their demands and instead realize that relatively environmentally safe projects like the Keystone Pipeline can help to make our nation wealthier, and therefore able to afford better environmental protections in the future. Sometimes, environmental protection and business can actually go hand in hand. Take our national forests for example (different from national parks). Why not give loggers permits to log the forests in a sustainable way? This would allow the forests to be managed in a way that prevents clear-cutting, while at the same time allows loggers to make some money using our natural resources. And business would not be the only ones to benefit from this deal. Money from permits could be used for environmental restoration projects and the thinning of forests will reduce the risk of forest fires. The only problem is that many environmental groups oppose such as plan because ideologically they consider every stick removed from nature as being on par with the BP oil spill.
If only we could abandon ideology and come together in support of reasonable plans to balance environmental protection and economic interests our economy and our world would be much better off.