Thursday, March 7, 2013

An Infinite Loop in Our Ears

The justification for air and water pollution in China has a familiar ring to it.  One river's water there is so foul that a local man declined a $32K dare to swim in it. 

"Local environmentalists say that China has enough money and technological prowess to clean up its rivers. The missing ingredient for an environmental campaign? Official motivation. Local governments depend on polluting factories to buoy local economies; local bureaucrats know their promotions are contingent on keeping growth rates high," according to Time.

Deja-vu all over again?  Industry in China is using an old, flawed argument -- that a flourishing economy must damage the natural world.

Sustainable businesses are not only profitable but also often more efficient and attractive to consumers.  It's not a question of technology or innovation either; we have it.  It's political will and the influence of wealthy special interests.

The oil and gas industry is case and point.  The industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the US on lobbying and paid scientists to convince Americans that we cannot prosper without their pollution.

Even today, as we know better, owners of dirty US power plants and politicians threaten economic doom if government imposes the smallest regulations to clean up their pollution.

It's akin to being held hostage, a gun to our heads, propaganda playing an infinite loop in our ears.  That's no way to do business or run a country.    

No comments: