TCS Daily


New Environmentalism: Where Free Markets And Nature Meet

By Lynn Scarlett - January 22, 2001 12:00 AM

Welcome to Tech Central Station's site for environmental news, commentary, information, and ideas. Nothing is static -- hence, the name for our site, "New Environmentalism." We promise it will be dynamic, evolving, imaginative.

Over the past three decades, environmentalism came of age, planted firmly in the American psyche and intruding into national and international politics. An environmental infrastructure -- technological and legal -- materialized to tackle environmental problems.

For most folks, environmentalism conjures up redwood forests, the Sierra Nevadas, magnificent gray wolves in Yellowstone -- romance. It also conjures up visions of clean air, clear water, untainted soils -- an absence of human-generated poisons, hazardous wastes, sludge.

But for politicos and pundits, environmentalism refers as much to battles over the legal infrastructures constructed to address problems of "romance" and "sludge" as to the fate of Nature.

Our Tech Central Station site will bring you both politics and accounts of the state of Nature.

We've got Science reports. What do we know - and what don't we know - about climate, chemicals, or Nature's creatures? How does this knowledge inform decisions? How safe is safe enough?

We've got Statecraft. We look at the old four P's environmentalism - those top-down rules characterized by punishment, prescription, process, and partitioning of issues into separate rather than interrelated problems. And we look at an emergent new environmentalism where statecraft emphasizes the four I's - incentives, innovation, integrated decision-making, and performance indicators.

We've got Stewardship stories. On farms and in factories, environmental stewards are blending environmental and economic goals. We bring you stories of this Viridian Verge. Sure, some environmental recalcitrance remains in the private sector. But we bring you the rest of the story -- tales of environmental heroism, factory-floor innovation, and the remarkable conservation wrought by the invisible green thumb of Adam Smith's competitive markets. We also bring you another kind of stewardship-the stewardship of environmental pioneers restoring wild places and seeking no reward beyond the satisfaction of preservation.

Welcome to Tech Central Station's new environmentalism site. You'll find here optimism, realism, scientific inquiry, and creative ideas for addressing environmental challenges.

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