‘Control volume’ needed to protect the environment
If engineering has taught me anything, it is the importance of the control volume. Most problems are so complex that it is difficult to understand them unless you define exactly what you care about. This has many applications to politics, and especially to the environment.
Most corporations, driven by quarterly earnings, define their control volume as their company. They send money out to purchase supplies to build products. They then send these products out in exchange for money. Pollution is not inside their control volume, nor are non-renewable resources or beautiful landscapes. Now imagine if companies extended their control volume to include the stream next to the chemical runoff? Imagine if they included beautiful wilderness and depleting resources?
If everyone behaved as a Boy or Girl Scout, companies would instantly recognize that quarterly profits are no excuse for the permanent destruction of Earth’s treasures. Unfortunately, they do not. Without regulation, there is no quarterly fiscal cost of pollution. So, for a corporation driven by this metric, there is no incentive to do anything about it. This is the role of government.
The government, through taxation and regulation, imposes costs on companies to disincentivize such short-sighted behavior. The government forces companies to expand their control volume and ensures that the price of destroying nature is far, far higher than the profit gained from it. It doesn’t kill jobs. It forces companies to become more responsible. If it were to kill jobs, the government could, and should, intervene to help subsidize the industry’s cost of transitioning to new procedures.
I am a registered Republican, but I don’t take inspiration from the absurd rhetoric of the current generation of “leaders.” Instead, listen to one of the greatest Republicans: A scholar, soldier, statesman and leader, Teddy Roosevelt realized that the environment was worth far more than the profits of corporations. He said: “Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us, and training them into a better race to inhabit the land and pass it on. Conservation is a great moral issue for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.”
Can’t every tree-hugging liberal and gun-toting conservative stand there overlooking the Grand Canyon, Badlands or the Chesapeake Bay and say with confidence that protecting its beauty for themselves and future generations is more important than dollars in somebody’s bank?
David Alman, Huntingtown