Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy Private Conservation Day!

Actually a day late, but I was waiting to post until The Heritage Foundation posted their video and audio. Private Conservation Day is held around the time of Thomas Jefferson's birthday to recognize the concept of environmental protection through private property rights.

Robert J. Smith, who coined the term "free-market environmentalism," was given the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from the CEI. In his speech, which you can find linked above, he gives an overview of the success of conservation through private property rights in the past, and opportunities for the future. It is about an hour long, but well worth the time.

For those who don't want to take the time, I'll summarize. Private property rights improve environmental conservation, from the time of the first settlers of the Americas to today. The government's attempts to protect the environment through regulation and government ownership fail. Mr. Smith gives many examples in his speech. We need to know how much land the government owns (some estimate it to be above 50%) and what the resources on those lands are so that we can begin to debate if private ownership would be better.

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