Harness the Power of Markets This Earth Day

Author: 
Published: 
Friday, April 21, 2017


Lake Tahoe, California. Photo courtesty of Clara Marie.

For nearly 50 years, millions of people set aside April 22 to celebrate our natural world and raise awareness for environmental issues – it’s Earth Day. Many get outside, some clean up their neighborhood trails, and others protest perceived environmental injustices.

The theme of Earth Day 2017 is Environmental and Climate Literacy. As the organizers of Earth Day explain, “Education is the key to advocacy and advocacy is the key to change.” Here at PERC, we agree that education is a crucial part of conservation, which is why we are devoted to providing high-quality research on a range of environmental topics.

Here are environmental issues we've focused on to kick off Earth Day:

Land – When it comes to land management, the U.S. Department of the Interior plays the widest-ranging and must crucial role of any department of the federal government. Policy ideas that harness the power of markets and property rights would deliver environmental and economic improvements for the resources under the control of the Interior Department. Read our newest Public Lands Report, A New Landscape: 8 Ideas for the Interior Department.

Water – Though the drought in California might be over, water will continue to be a scarce and contentious resource. The prolonged drought that gripped the state for more than five years revealed just how important water is to the economy and the environment. Creative policy ideas could deliver significant improvements to California’s water laws and ward off the effects of future droughts. Check out Tapping Water Markets in California: Six Policy Reforms to learn more.  

Fisheries – Many commercially important fish populations are now managed by establishing rights for fishers to harvest specific quantities of various species and allowing these rights to be traded in markets. In principle, this approach can also be used to limit incidental catches of species that have little commercial value but are protected due to their ecological importance. Check out our most recent PERC Policy Series, Mobilizing Markets to Reduce Bycatch in Marine Fisheries.

Climate –Free markets and property rights are critical in helping us adapt to climate change. Market prices send signals about local conditions that no central planner or scientific expert could possibly know, and property rights give resource owners the incentives necessary to adjust to changing conditions. Read PERC Reports, Market Adaptation to Climate Change, to learn more.

Hannah Downey is the policy and partnerships coordinator and a research fellow at PERC, helping to move projects along from conception to completion. After being introduced to PERC her freshman year of college, she pursued the ideas of free market environmentalism and became a research assistant as a senior. She graduated from Montana State...
Read More > More Articles by Hannah Downey >