“The Environment” vs. “The Economy”

Someone is a local citizens’ group on FB just now was trotting out that old widespread fallacy, about how we have to “find balance” between “the environment” and “the economy.”

Sorry if I sound impatient here, but I am!

This is a sad and deadly false dichotomy. A popular fallacy, among both officialdom and everyday citizens, is to pit “the economy” and “nature/environment” against one another. When in fact, not only can they go hand in hand — they MUST go hand in hand.

For any city or region, continuing down this road will ultimately trash your local natural beauty and ecosystem health (if it hasn’t already). And will harm wildlife, ultimately leading to mass die-offs of your local beloved animals and plants (if it hasn’t already, as with the mass die-offs of our beloved manatees here in Florida). And it will trash the health, both physical and mental, of local humans too (if it hasn’t already).

And in the long run, on a macro level this deadly and selfish dichotomy is what will lead to the extinction of the human race if we continue down this path.

It is not a choice between two “extremes.”
One prime example of the overlap between environment and economy is agriculture; we need to support our local farmers, local agriculture industries. And we can’t have local food resilience if we’re paving over most of the land, and spraying the rest with lawn chemicals and other poisons.

And regarding the challenge faced by elected officials and other leaders who must balance the various demands of their constituents … When it comes to ecosystems and carrying capacity, and having respect for our nonhuman brothers and sisters (or even having respect for all of our fellow humans), we passed “balance” many long miles ago. If I’m a city or county official, and some of my noisiest constituents are calling for things that keep my local region on a self-destructive course (in terms of nature AND ultimately in terms of the economy also), then it is my job as a leader to stand up for what’s right, even if it means temporarily enduring some disapproval from people who don’t have the collective wellbeing in mind.

Oh, and by the way, regarding willingness to deploy financial resources: If in our human shortsightedness we somehow cannot “come up with the funding” to address environmental urgencies, Mother Nature will be more than happy to take care of that for us. And then we’ll see what REAL expensive is.