By Max Falque
Terry Anderson, who attended our 1998 International Conference on Water Resources (Aix en Provence 1998) is executive director of the Property and Environment Reseach Center-PERC, a leading think tank in environmental policy and author of several books, among them the best seller "Free Market Environmentalism".
His new book, "Greener than thou, are you really an environmentalist" (Hoover Institutions Press, 146 pp. 2008) co-authored with Laura Huggins is worth reading.
In six insightful chapters, the book makes a powerful argument for free market environmentalism. They break down liberal and conservative stereotypes of what it means to be an environmentalist and show that, by forming local coalitions around market principles, stereotypes are replaced by pragmatic solutions that improve environmental quality without necessarily increasing red tape.
Combating the tendency to equate being green with environmental red tape requires rethinking the role of markets in providing environmental quality. The authors suggest ways in which free market environmentalism can do that by first recognizing that, in the words of conservationist Aldo Leopold, conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest. They illustrate how such incentives are already leading to environmental improvements and ultimately show that whether the issue is management of public lands, water or air quality, or even global warming, free market environmentalism can provide an alternative to command-and-control regulation.
The last sentence sets a new path "To move the well-intentioned, but increasingly counterproductive, greener-than-you approach into truly effective solutions, we must adopt the spirit of enviropreneurs and "get it done"free market style , turning Generation E into the "enviropreneur generation"