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Media and the Environment (book). Ed. s1m and Everette E. Dennis. Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1991.
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|Changing the World Through the Informationsphere||70||GNP is a measure of economic activity, of throughput. It is "the fever chart of our consumption," as Wendell Berry says. It is cost, not benefit; quantity, not quality or justice or security or welfare. It isn't even wealth. Wealth is the stock of goods, not their flow. A society would be as well off and environmentally more sustainable with a stock of houses, cars, factories that is replaced slowly rather than quickly -- though it woould have a much lower GNP.||GNP Environmental impact|
|Changing the World Through the Informationsphere||72||A society that refuses to consider the idea that there are limits to growth is not going to bring forth a physical economy that fits within the constraints of the planet. A scoiety that thinks there's an "away" to throw things to is going to find itself choking on its own waste.||Waste limits|
|A Market for Change||173||"...it is still true that the media do a good job of covering events and a relatively poor job of covering trends. As a result, environmental disasters like the Exxon Valdez spill are extremely well covered and generally well reported. But important issues like the skyrocketing growth of world population - issues that will affect the course of the planet and that call for action - are largely ignored. In a similar way, most of the improvement we have seen in environmental quality - the successes of the Clean Water Act, for example - is largely incremental, and rarely gets coverage."|
|A Market for Change||175-176||"We did that by requiring power plants to have permits to cover their total pollution - but giving out enough permits to cover about half the power plant pollution emitted today. Instead of requiring each power plant to reduce its pollution exactly in half - which is the kind of regulation we have had in the past - we allow the plants to trade and sell their permits. A single power plant, for example, can buy permits to allow it to keep polluting at today's level, but it can only buy those permits from people who have reduced their pollution below their allotment.
Reducing pollution by half would be very expensive for some power plants and relatively inexpensive for others. Under the permit system, power plant owners will seek out the cheapest pollution reductions first, creating the most economically efficient pollution control. In effect, you get the most environmental improvement per dollar invested. In fact, the Bush administration believes that this system will achieve the 10-million-ton reduction for at least 20 percent less than more conventional approaches.
There is another advantage to the economic-incentive approach: While the uniform-prescription approach requires conformity, economic incentives reward efficiency and innovation. This sort of system is perfectly adapted to our 'culture of consumption'. It puts the forces of the marketplace to work to restrain pollution, and ideally, it makes it profitable to reduce pollution.
One of the problems with our current environmental laws is that they focus on detailed prescriptions for regulated parties. And as we have required higher standards of environmental protection, those prescriptions have gotten so intricately detailed that debate on evnironmental issues has often focused on complex and often arcane matters of technology rather than on our environmental goals. Those debates qucikly leave the public - and most policy-makers - lost, having to judge between two or more cmaps of experts dealing in technical details.
One of the best features of the Project 88 proposal on acid rain was that it focused the debate on the goal of the program - the amount of pollution we needed to reduce. The techincal details of the means to that end were left to the polluters..."
|An Odd Assortment of Allies: Am. Env. in the 1990s||53||"...Earth Day 1970, achieved its fullest expression with the coverage preceding and including Earth Day 1990. 'You too can save the planet,' the media continuously implored, offering tips on recycling, conserving water or energy, and making more (presumably) environmentally sensitive purchasing decisions. Environmental activity became another form of consumption."|
|Two Decades of the Environmental Beat||23||"Providing such backround information empowers readers and viewers, giving them information with which to make decisions. Control over environmental risks and hazards is a major factor for citizens, who are more apt to accept a risk if they feel they have some degree of control over it. But people seeing only facts without context in hazardous situations may decide that they are helpless to intervene or change a situation, and therefor may not participate in the debate. Traditional news gathering, with its enmphasis on heroes, major players and 'big' events, encourages such attitudes."|
|Survival Alliances||9||"Journalists can look to the U.S. Commerce Department each month to keep score on trade. Economic scorekeeping on the environment is in its infancy. Whenever fines are enforced, U.S. factories do a better job of monitoring pollution emmisions. World Bank economists, among others, have begun to find ways of assessing a country's deforestation, oil depletion and soil erosion and of deducting that cost from GNP. But some aspects of the environment are not so easily measured. How, for instance, does one price a sunset? And, more to the point of this essay, how does one determine the worth of an individual species? The value of particular genes in a particular species can changes. Horses with genes for strength were desired a century ago when farmes used them to plow fields and pull buggies, but not now. Moreover, one cannot consider species alone; they exist as part of an entire eco-system."|
|Survival Alliances||9-10||"Without sound data, trade-offs between environmental protection and economic growth are difficult to calibrate. Everyone agrees that species loss is bad over the long haul, just as they agree that tropical deforestation damages the atmosphere over time. But how bad compared with providing more food right now for Fidel Mendez and his family?"|
|Greens and Greenbacks||166||"Environmental costs and benefits are also absent from the gross national product (GNP), that all-important measure of a nation's consumption and, by inference, its wealth. Factories, equipment and office buildings are tallied as economic assets, and the decline in their value is subtracted from national wealth as they age. But most countries don't consider their forests, wildlife, clean water or soil as assets, nor do they count the destruction of these resources as a debit when calculating wealth."|
|Books (not Thneeds) Are What Everyone Needs||235||"The enormity of the problem is established right at the start. Carson shows that the speed of change follows the impetuous and heedess pace of man rather than the deliberate pace of nature. Some 500 new chemicals are introduced each year - to which the bodies of men and animals are required somehow to adapt - and among them are basic chemicals created for use in killing insects, weeds, rodents and other 'pests'..."||Rachel Carson Silent Spring|
|Books (not Thneeds) Are What Everyone Needs||236||"...in Sheldon, Illinois, at the behest of a few farmers and without prior consultation with the U.S. or state fish and wildlife or game management agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Agriculture Department began a program in 1954 to exterminate the japanese [sic] beetle. Dieldrin, which was about 50 times more poisonous than DDT, was applied at the rate of 3 pounds per acre. The application killed not only the beetles, but almost all insects, including earthworms; virtually wiped out brown thrashers, meadowlarks, robins and pheasants; and killed 90 percent of all the farm cats, as well as many cattle and sheep."||Rachel Carson Silent Spring|
|Books (not Thneeds) Are What Everyone Needs||240||"...mankind is 'never justified in assuming a force to be insignificant because its measure is unknown, or even because no physical effect can now be traced to it as its origin.'"||George Perkins Marsh Man and Nature|
|Books (not Thneeds) Are What Everyone Needs||242||"Schumacher disdained the usual ways of measuring progress, such as gross national product. He considered it foolish to judge a people's standard of living by their annual consumption, or to assume that people who consume more are necessarily better off than those who consume less. He believed that using non-renewable resources needlessly or extravagantly is an act of violence, resulting in pollution and harm to ecological systems, and threatening life itself. He warned that nations were sqandering their 'capital' of nature at a disastrous rate because of a misuided sense of values and wasteful, production-oriented economic systems. We treat these irreplaceable assets as income, Schumacher said, when they should be condsidered as our capital."||E.F. "Fritz" Schumacher Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered|