This semester I have been a part of a capstone course for the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies about Free Market Environmentalism (FME).
What’s that, you may ask?
FME says that market mechanisms may be more effective at solving environmental problems than the government.
Hmmm, what do you think about that?
Let’s think of a few cases:
1. Land: maybe instead of regulating or restricting development, we could just purchase the land (As frequently done by the Nature Conservancy).
2. Animals: maybe we can create a market for Asian Carp (meat, fish oil, bow hunting?) to reduce their populations and decrease their potential damage, instead of relying on Congress to close the Chicago canal to the Great Lakes?
3. Waste: maybe we can use an anaerobic digester to turn polluting cow manure on unregulated farms into clean energy and reusable farm resources.
These are some examples that show that it is possible, in many cases, that free market tools can solve some environmental problems in potentially less time, and while making money and benefiting the community (instead of just stopping the problem) in the process.
My group has explored another waste example: could we provide incentive for households to waste less by paying for our garbage by the pound instead of by bin price (and with our property taxes)? Would that system work for a city like Madison? Would we even end up reducing our waste?
WELL, if you want to know the answers to these questions, you’re in LUCK!
This Thursday, May 6 at 7 pm, my class (composed of 4 separate FME case studies) will present our research on whether FME is more effective than government, or what we believe the place for government may be when it comes to environmental issues. The one hour presentation will be in the Red Gym on Langdon Street, next to Memorial Union. Complete info here.
If you read this blog, you already know that I’m a proponent of individual action. While I support government initiatives (and often solicit your support as well), I also advocate for finding our own ways of solving environmental problems … it’s innovation at it’s best. And it’s fun!
So, come find out what the research, interviews, and survey we conducted has to say about waste reduction and if Free Market Environmentalism is the answer we’ve all been looking for.
Can’t make it?
I’ll put our conclusions up on Friday 🙂