Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Environmental Regulation Doesn't Prevent Environmental Abuse

It’s taken me many years to swallow the bitter pill of the reality of government regulation. After 40 years of environmental activism I’ve finally come to the following conclusions.

Regulations do not stop environmental abuse, pollution, habitat destruction, species extinction...what have you. Regulations only regulate, that is, allow these things to continue in a controlled manner. NEPA does not stop pollution, it regulates it. The Clean Air Act does not stop air pollution, it allows it to continue… regulated. The California Coast Act does not prevent coastal development… it regulates it.

You get the picture. Corporations, and people, will always pollute, develop, destroy habitat. Non-humans species will always be displaced by human growth and development. Regulation doesn’t change this, it just puts it in the realm of human notice. Regulation is the bureaucratic excuse for business as usual.

The only way to stop corporate abuse is to rein in corporations, put them on a short leash and dissolve them when they don’t live up to their charter. The only way to stop people from polluting is to remove the economic incentive to throw things "away."

Humans create corporations to do good. Humans can uncreate corporations when they fail to do good.

Humans create pollution out of habits encouraged by an economy based on consumption and unlimited growth. Humans can develop habits of conservation and preservation rather than profligacy.

Rather than waiting for the government to regulate an out of control growth economy, we can start right at home, right now.

We're from the neighborhood. We're here to help everyone!

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