The environment belongs to all the people and future generations. It must be protected. Those who currently hold the deeds to property should not be allowed to abuse their own land, water and air, making others suffer. Those harm the environment should be required to pay for restoring it, if it can be restored.
Before the government moves to create further laws to stop businesses and individuals from polluting, we need to ask ourselves what the government itself is currently doing to hasten the destruction of the planet. The U.S. dedicates about half its budget to warfare. Destroying infrastructure around the world, depleting resources in the process, our main objective anywhere we go is to take control of fossil fuel operations. In addition to the billions spent on war every year, the U.S. government subsidizes the industry to keep gas prices low. How can green energy compete against this kind of favoritism that the government has toward fossil fuels?
We can try to pass more laws and regulations against those who pollute the environment, but the laws we have now are not enforced against the worst offenders. Fracking in the U.S. is exempt from the Clean Air and Clean Water Act. Without government support and subsidy, fracking is not a financially viable venture. It’s dirty; it destroys property. If frackers were forced to take responsibility for the toxic waste produced extracting gas, there would be no profit for them. If oil companies actually had to clean up their spills instead of just awarding owners compensation for the loss of income and property, oil industry profits would greatly diminish.
The U.S. government is heavily invested in promoting global trade–encouraging multi-national corporations to ship raw materials far distances to be made into cheap products by cheap labor and shipping those product around the world–instead of allowing local economies the chance to flourish. We don’t need more cheap goods from China and Mexico. Our landfills are overflowing. We need high quality products made locally that will last and that can be repaired, not just thrown away. The amount of pollution from global trade is estimated to be one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions.
Fossil fuel intensive agriculture, such as growing corn for cattle feed and ethanol, is subsidized by the U.S. government, while it would be better to turn cattle out to graze and grow hemp for biofuel.
The Federal Reserve has the privilege of deciding who gets new money that is created in the U.S.. A lot of it is given to the fossil fuel industry at low or no interest. No new money should be created to loan to private corporations of any kind or to individuals. New U.S. dollars should only be put in circulation to pay for public infrastructure and public works.
We have a money spigot on full bast for the fossil fuel industry. First, we need to turn that spigot off. Next, we need to levy a tax all fossil fuel products and by-products, such as plastics, so that those who have helped make the mess pay for cleaning it up. Those who don’t contribute to pollution should not be forced to pay for those who do.
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The environment is something everybody shares, and so no one should be able to exploit nature while causing harm to others. In the past, we’ve had some oversights and done serious harm to the environment, and so regulations were established to make sure that it didn’t happen again. But, the regulations made tend to be written by corporate lobbyists, who make it easy for corporations to pay small fines instead of halting dangerous endeavors. Recently, President Trump cut environmental regulations to make way for capitalism. So while these “regulations” made by corporate lobbyists aren’t helping, the ideas that they present to get the bill passed might.
As stated above, an attempt to create fees for damaging the environment has given companies small fees in exchange for large damage. A effective regulation would have a sufficient tax on products or activities that damage the environment like fossil fuel products and by-products, deforestation, and mineral mining. More importantly, the large sum of money charged for such activities must go towards funding the reconstruction of the environment, not just in the pockets of politicians.
Those politicians in turn need to stop granting subsidies to industries that contribute to pollution or destroy valuable ecosystems. This might be an obvious one, but it’s still a problem. When BP had their massive oil spill in 2010, the US govt stepped in and paid for most of their 20 million dollar cleanup. It doesn’t make much sense to have a fine if you’re just going to to cover it, does it?
When an ecological disaster occurs, citizens, whose land is damaged because of a chemical spill, usually only get pitiful reimbursement. Granting better access to the courts so that these bereaved people can challenge large and powerful corporations, which are otherwise not being held responsible for the damage they’ve done, is another way to make companies think twice before they take on a risky project.
So called “regulations” in the past have made it easy for corporations to get away with their money making schemes. But, as the environment is something we all share, these laughable excuses for rules must be ended, and new, tougher regulations put in place.