Environmental damage saddening | TheUnion.com

Environmental damage saddening

Sometimes, when I look at the environment my sadness overwhelms me. I see angry opposition to heartfelt and honest efforts to contain the destruction of our natural environment in the name of progress.

We are consuming our natural resources at a rate which denies that those resources are limited. The industrialized nations with 20 percent of the earth’s population consume 86 percent of its production. The U.S. produces 25-plus percent of all global-warming gases and yet refuses to enter into an agreement to limit them. We continue to produce and purchase energy-wasting vehicles and appliances with little regard of consequences. What drives this incredibly stupid behavior?

A major part of the answer to that question is the “market.” Standard economics ignores the existence of the environment. It assumes that the more goods produced, the better, and pays little regard to the limits of natural resources or the pollution caused by production and consumption.

On our local level, there is opposition to the NH 2020 program. This opposition is framed in such a way as to invoke a feeling that approval of NH 2020 will result in the loss of something such as “property rights,” rather than the preservation of irreplaceable and valuable natural resources. Conspiracy theories are formulated to justify opposition. Preserving the environment cannot be just that, rather it is a Communist plot. Respected charitable institutions that support local environmental issues are suspect simply because they are not local.

Those who oppose efforts to preserve the environment have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. Their bottom line is now, and to hell with the future. Short-term gain pre-empts long term considerations. Unfortunately, when the environment is significantly degraded, it is irreversibly lost and with it the economy. As a former Wisconsin governor stated: “The economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment.”

Stuart Hoffmann

Grass Valley

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