Where is the sense of outrage? by John Champagne

jchampag@lonestar.utsa.edu, Sat Feb 28 12:51:50 1998

Is it just me and a few friends who are crazy for thinking we all ought to be outraged, or are we all crazy for sitting by quietly while the earth is paved and turned into vast fields of monoculture, forests are destroyed, the seas are stripmined, (the effect of dragging a trawler across the bottom of the sea is that a few people are able to enjoy lobster dinners, and ecosystems and their biodiversity are destroyed), air and water are contaminated, and billions of tons of waste carbon are pumped into the atmosphere each year.

It seems to me that, to the extent that we see people doing things that are harmful to the earth or our community, we ought to be able to require some payment from them--in compensation for the damage done, and to cause them to feel an incentive to reduce the harm, so that we can keep the overall negative impact of human activities within acceptable limits. If we lived in a democratic nation, and we could all vote on what levels of human impacts of various kinds we would deem acceptable, what we i feel is acceptable, and have free markets allocate the permits to cause the adverse impacts, (emit pollution, cut forests, take fish, or whatever), then the producers of the adverse impacts will have an incentive to reduce the harm they do. Those purchases, processes and habits that involve more harm to the earth would have proportional economic costs associated with them, (i.e., appropriate incentives to reduce the harm). We would have an economic system that translates our expressed wishes into reality. We would have a sensory nervous system for the earth - a translation of our preferences into actual economic activity, and environmental and social conditions.

This may seem to be an impractical plan, because we cannot afford the additional taxes, but if we think of it as i instead of what we have now, rather than i in addition to , we may decide that we cannot afford b not to adopt it. Imagine if all the proceeds from pollution fees and natural resource user-fees were shared among all the people equally, and if each person were asked to spend half of their share for themselves and half in some way that is endorsed by the community. There would be no one living in abject poverty, and those public concerns which have broad support among members of the community would enjoy funding at levels consistant with the wishes of the people. A sensory or autonomic nervous system for earth: People deciding what human actions they want to discourage, by attaching fees to those actions which adversely affect others, and what human actions they want to encourage, by funding those people and programs that benefit the community.

This sharing of our own feelings about what kind of world we want to live in creates on a global scale than very phenomenon which is being shared, our feelings, perceptions and preferences--our sense. In a similar way, if we were to share our view of our geographical environment with society, by posting a map of our neighborhood on the internet, and link our post with other people's posts, (jump to an adjacent neighborhood by clicking on the edge of my map), we will have created an electronic virtual globe which incorporates and reflects the geographic perceptions of its inhabitants.

Gaia Brain: democratic ownership and free market management of natural resources

Cronkite for President - Can we find someone, (someone over 35 years old), who we could most all agree on for our next President?

1998 jchampag@lonestar.utsa.edu

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