Friday, December 22, 2006

Seasonal Cheer: Some Environmental Economics Quotes

Top tip for Earth warriors and/or economists: attempt to subvert Christmas by sneaking environmental economics quotes inside the traditional Christmas cracker.

Whilst not guaranteed to to have your granny spitting her teeth out into the soup with laughter you might inspire your 6 year old niece to take up the cause, ditch the turkey for the nut roast, and study environmental economics. Granted, this appears to be a long shot.

Thus, in the spirit of the season of good cheer, here are some quotes chosen by this dismal environmental economist.

Instructions: print off this post, cut into strips and surreptitiously attach quote to the inside of the cracker so it falls out into the Cranberry sauce.

Talking of Christmas dinner this leads me seamlessly into quote number 1:

"Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites". ~William Ruckelshaus, Business Week, 18 June 1990.

For non-smokers replace cigarettes with "pint of milk."

"Your grandchildren will likely find it incredible - or even sinful - that you burned up a gallon of gasoline to fetch a pack of cigarettes!" ~Dr. Paul MacCready, Jr.

"We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap." ~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

A bit of intergenerational analysis:
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." ~Native American Proverb

"The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun." ~Ralph Nader, quoted in Linda Botts, ed., Loose Talk, 1980

"Economic advance is not the same thing as human progress." ~John Clapham, A Concise Economic History of Britain, 1957

Two for Matt Kahn's blog "Environmental and Urban Economics", one with a Christmas theme.
"Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them." ~Bill Vaughn

"Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature? Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window? When the only wild animal he knows is a rat - glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum? When the only tree he touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that shades his gifts on Christmas morning?" ~Frank N. Ikard, North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Houston, March 1968

A good globalisation quote:
"God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the west... keeping the world in chains. If [our nation] took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts." ~Mahatma Gandhi

"Malthus has been buried many times, and Malthusian scarcity with him. But as Garrett Hardin remarked, anyone who has to be reburied so often cannot be entirely dead." ~Herman E. Daly, Steady-State Economics, 1977

These long dead English Kings were way ahead of their time:
One of the first laws against air pollution came in 1300 when King Edward I decreed the death penalty for burning of coal. At least one execution for that offense is recorded. But economics triumphed over health considerations, and air pollution became an appalling problem in England. ~Glenn T. Seaborg, Atomic Energy Commission chairman, speech, Argonne National Laboratory, 1969

The finale includes "laissez-faire" for my soon to be Econ101 students.
With laissez-faire and price atomic,
Ecology's Uneconomic,
But with another kind of logic
Economy's Unecologic.
~Kenneth E. Boulding, in Frank F. Darling and John P. Milton, eds., Future Environments of North America, 1966

It is interesting to note that many of these quotes are decades old. I wonder if this time, with the Al Gore circus in full flow, whether anything will change.

Thanks to ""

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