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‘Saving the Earth’

Stammer’s article warned us that the “Environment could lose out in face of economic realities.” In it he discussed economic realities as if they dealt with another planet.

We must consider both costs and benefits of what we do in relation to the environment. Economic models are real only if they take environmental constraints into account. Future resource availability, as well as short-term supplies, must be considered. The environment’s ability to absorb wastes must also be valued. Intangibles that affect the quality of life also need to be accounted for. These include not only clean air and water, but visual and other sensory qualities as well.

In the future, we need to restructure the economy to recognize real costs. Rich or poor nations cannot afford to produce or buy products that do irreversible damage to the environment. Environmentally sound alternatives should be the most economically attractive if all costs are accounted for.

Ecology and economics should deal with the same reality. They only appear to be in conflict if we ignore the facts of life on this planet.

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MARK VON WODTKE

Claremont


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