Beyond Emergency Measures
Emergency measures are expensive. They can be justified in times of emergency. But we environmentalists want to go beyond preserving a small remnant of each species. We want nature to thrive! But how do we justify measures to propagate wild plants and animals that are not quite endangered?
One way is to exaggerate emergencies to keep the people motivated. This works to a point, but eventually you get tagged as a fear monger and lose credibility. This can be a serious problem when you have a true emergency to report.
The solution is to look for measures to preserve and even expand habitats that are cheap or even profitable to humans. Many such measures exist. However, they do not always focus on critical species. Do them anyway. This will prevent future endangerment in some cases. In other cases it will lead to restoration. With the cheap and/or profitable measures reducing the number of emergency situations, there is more goodwill left for the remaining emergency situations.
The use of the carrot instead of the stick is a good example. Where the “carrot” offered by the government is more valuable than the cost of preservation/restoration, people will preserve/restore. Where the value of full exploitation is more valuable than the “carrot,” people will exploit. Preservation/restoration occurs where it is cheapest to do so.
But there are ways to preserve habitat in a very general sense.
Suburban sprawl is currently taking away habitat. Advocates of “Smart Growth” call for mandatory green spaces around cities, mandatory densification and so forth. Detractors refer to this as “rural cleansing.” Such draconian measures are unnecessary. City life has its advantages. Many will freely opt for the city lifestyle if we get rid of some of the disadvantages of city lifestyle. Several ways to do this will be given in my forthcoming chapter, “Shrinking Sprawl.”
A great deal of space is used up by streets and highways. And traffic congestion is a major motivator for many to move out into the country beyond the suburbs. Many environmentalists want to get rid of cars and make people ride buses. This is a recipe for serious opposition! “It’s not just your car; it’s your freedom,” was a very true advertising slogan. Fortunately there is much we can do to reduce congestion which does not require paving the planet. I will document some of them in a future chapter entitled “Traffic.”
But let us not neglect the habitat lost to farming. And over fishing the oceans is also threatening species. Some environmentalists would have us all reduced to eating a Third World carbo-mush diet. While it is true that Americans do probably eat too much meat, it is also true that much of the world does not eat enough. Fortunately, there exists a gigantic untapped source of quality protein available that can feed the world and then some. See the forthcoming chapter, “Protein for the People.”
We can save the critters and have fun doing so. Stay tuned.