August 21, 2012
The U.S. government owns one third of American land. This is an impossibly large amount of land for the government to successfully manage.
A more effective way to steward this land and protect the environment, The Heritage Foundation’s Amy Payne explains, would be to put this land in the hands of the people, because “ownership inspires stewardship.”
For over 20 years The Heritage Foundation has been developing principled, conservative solutions to protect and conserve America’s natural environment. This work resulted in eight enduring principles, drawn from common-sense conservative ideas, that can help policymakers develop sound environmental policy:
- People are the most important, unique, and precious resource.
- Renewable natural resources are resilient and dynamic and respond positively to wise management
- Private property protections and free markets provide the most promising new opportunities for environmental improvements
- Efforts to reduce, control, and remediate pollution should achieve real environmental benefits.
- As we accumulate scientific, technological, and artistic knowledge, we learn how to get more from less.
- Management of natural resources should be conducted on a site- and situation-specific basis.
- Science should be employed as one tool to guide public policy.
- The most successful environmental policies emanate from liberty.
A new publication, The Environmental Conservation: Eight Principles of the American Conservation Ethic, evaluates U.S. environmental policies and their effectiveness, and makes “recommendations for moving forward with smart solutions that fix the problems of years past, protect and bolster individual property rights, and provide real benefits.”
For example, the report explains that free-market economies tend to have the healthiest environments because, as Payne explains, “Economic growth is positively correlated with life expectancy, which is one of the most critical measurements of environmental policies—are people better off?”
Do you think the best policies to preserve the environment are based on free-market principles?