Corrected in 1999 for anomalies related to orbital drift and other problems discovered in 1998. 2:16); but governmental power, necessary to subdue sin and reduce its harm, must be exercised by sinful humans, who may also abuse it (Ps. And dumped it into our lakes and rivers when we were finished with it. Now take the same resource, and the same population with the same set of preferences and expectations, but make the present/future allocation on the basis of transferable property rights. Ronald Bailey (New York: Free Press, 1995), and "Richer Is More Resilient: Dealing with Climate Change and More Urgent Environmental Problems," in Earth Report 2000: Revisiting the True State of the Planet, ed. In another group are conditions related to responsibility, especially to the existence of a legal framework that holds people accountable for harm they may cause to others (Rom. See Samuel H. Preston, "Human Mortality throughout History and Prehistory"; and Kenneth Hill, "The Decline of Childhood Mortality," in The State of Humanity, ed. Computed from Braudel, 1:135. 16:19; 1 Tim. 119:45; Isa. If any one of those attributes is missing, people can act irresponsibly with regard to creation, at least in part because they do not have adequate information or appropriate incentives to make sound decisions.72. Although it did not specifically name global warming, the Heidelberg Appeal warned against "the emergence of an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development." Sometimes we feel that what we’ve worked for and earned is ours, and that’s final. Such facts help to explain why earlier generations spent a major part of each day working to earn enough income just to pay for food (excluding its preparation, packaging, transport, and serving), while we spend far less today (under 6 percent of total consumer expenditures in the United States in the 1980s went to food). Robert C. Balling, The Heated Debate: Greenhouse Predictions Versus Climate Reality (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute, 1992), 92, 102—103. See also John Harris, Stanley Godlovitch, and Roslind Godlovitch, Animals, Men, and Morals (New York: Taplinger Publishing, 1972); and Arne Naess, Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle: Outline of an Ecosophy, trans. Thomas Gale Moore concluded his careful evaluation of various studies of anticipated health effects of global warming by writing, "… a warmer climate should improve health and extend life, at least for Americans and probably for Europeans, the Japanese, and people living in high latitudes. By contrast, regulated state monopolies in socialist economies maximize the use of resources and other production costs. 9. Excerpt from a speech by Jerry Taylor delivered on February 4, 1997, to the Environmental Grantmakers Association: "Environmentalism in a Market Society: Creative Ideas." Ronald Bailey (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000), 291—310. Despite the reassuring picture painted by all these general observations, many people continue to fear that we face serious threats to human well-being and to the environment as a whole. The consensus of scientists on global warming has turned out to be quite the opposite of what the apocalyptic vision proponents claimed. Further, whatever rise in global average temperature occurs will likely result not in expanding but in contracting deserts, and not in contracting but in expanding polar ice caps. The Bible teaches that as caretakers or managers of the environment, people are to practice good stewardship. Frank Cross, "Paradoxical Perils of the Precautionary Principle," Washington and Lee Law Review 53 (1996): 919, and "When Environmental Regulations Kill: The Role of Health/Health Analysis," Ecology Law Quarterly 22 (1995): 729—784. But the data–to the extent that both sets are to be trusted–now show the opposite to be true. Is it not possible to have a well-functioning market system and still have resources put to ungodly uses? Such policies not only delay the achievement of the affluence that makes environmental protection affordable but also condemn millions of people to more years in poverty. 6. What the poor lack is sufficient income to afford the solutions; that is part of why economic growth in developing countries and trade between nations (which can speed the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies, management techniques, and regulatory regimes in developing countries) are so critically important–and why it is so tragic that many environmentalists embrace policies inimical to these ends. They are less likely to erode important human freedoms and more likely to be cost-effective and successful in achieving their aims. Environmental problems are traditionally seen as a result of market failure and as ample justification for the government to involve itself in the economy much more directly and forcefully to solve these problems. Even more significant, the price of resources divided by wages is even more sharply downward, because while resource prices have been falling, wages have been rising. These facts are not vitiated by the fact that humankind fell into sin (Gen. 3). The fact is illustrated well by the situation in the United States. Julian L. Simon (New York: Blackwell, 1995), 381. These rules are crucial determinants of what information is generated and what incentives the decision makers face. To environmentalists, letting man have dominion over the animals and being told to subdue the earth means that God gives man free rein to do anything he wants to the planet—bend it to his uses and abuses, rape … "24 Even if some pollution emissions rise during early economic development, the beneficial effects to human life of increased production far outweigh the harmful effects of the resulting pollution, as demonstrated in declining disease and mortality rates and in rising health and life expectancy, even during that early stage. "The population crisis," writes cultural historian and evolutionary theorist Riane Eisler, lies at the heart of the seemingly insoluble complex of problems futurists call the world problematique. 60. There are several reasons for this. II. Property rights generate appropriate information and incentives to the extent that they embody three characteristics: exclusivity, liability, and transferability. This idea has been given formulaic expression in Paul Ehrlich’s famous equation, i = pat, where i is environmental damage, p is population, a is affluence, and t is technology. Editorial Board The environmental transition, as a concept, simply generalizes a common-sense insight: People tend to prioritize their spending in terms of their most urgent needs. This is clearly worrisome, but at an average of 3.4 extinctions per year, nothing like the rate of loss claimed by pessimists.67. D. L. Hawksworth (London: Royal Society/Chapman and Hall, 1995), 13—20; Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species (New York: Random House, 1981); John Tuxill and Chris Bright, "Losing Strands in the Web of Life," in The State of the World 1998, ed. (This means that modern farmers also manage to farm from 37 to 100 times as many acres, thanks largely to mechanized equipment and advanced farming techniques.) This can be of particular importance to Christians or environmentalists who find themselves at odds with prevailing wisdom about the environment. The perverse incentives created by the law may well lead an owner to surreptitiously destroy that animal or plant–or any habitat that might attract it.75. 34. Thus, the attributes of exclusivity, liability, and transferability are essential for a well-functioning property rights system, one that fulfills the biblical mandate of holding individuals accountable for their decisions. Necessarily, then, there is also a positive correlation between freedom and environmental quality. In a world where Christian charity and concern for others are sometimes in short supply, it is useful to have a mechanism that allows for future needs to be met, by those acting charitably and those pursuing profit. NIV Stewardship Study Bible: Discover God's Design for Life, the Environment, Finances, Generosity, and Eternity: Zondervan Bibles: Amazon.nl. Under such a structure, people residing in a particular airshed, through some government entity, would decide how much pollution they are willing to tolerate. 2:13—14).8. For instance, on the American frontier there were no exclusive rights to North American buffalo. Peel suggests that there are four important principles about biblical stewardship we must understand: 1. PovertyCure, being an initiative of the Acton Institute, seeks to connect good intentions with sounds economics. Having also created the first woman and having joined her to Adam (Gen. 2:18—25), God commanded them and their descendants to multiply, to spread out beyond the boundaries of the Garden of Eden, and to fill, subdue, and rule the whole earth and everything in it (Gen. 1:26, 28). Even prehistoric people hunted some animals to extinction. But until the Industrial Revolution, we couldn’t do much more than local damage. How do we know that the desires represented through property rights and the markets are truly scriptural? Under [conservation biologist E. Quoted in Francis A. Schaeffer, "How Should We Then Live?" On the contrary, the more likely problem is that an aging world population will put greater stress on younger workers to provide for older, disabled persons.33  Such a prospect, coupled with the sanctity of human life, makes all the more tragic the support in many quarters for morally illicit means of population control. People choose to run it any other way but his. God knows the state of each heart and judges accordingly. In addition, roughly two-thirds of the overall increase is attributable to natural, not manmade, causes (primarily changes in solar energy output).34. First, a private-property system will not produce zero pollution in the sense of stopping all alteration of the environment; but neither will it allow economic growth at all costs with material desires superseding all others. E. Calvin Beisner, "Anomalies, the Good News, and the Debate over Population and Development: A Review of Susan Power Bratton’s Six Billion and More," Stewardship Journal 3 (summer 1993): 44—53. 6:8.). It costs you nothing extra. 11. Similarly, Latin America’s average trfs fell from 5.6 in the 1960s to 2.7 today. 66. 27. For a discussion of the American West and how different property rights systems affected stewardship practices, especially as these practices pertained to species preservation, see Terry L. Anderson and Donald R. Leal, Free Market Environmentalism (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute, 1991), chapter 3. Many citizens who support expensive policies to prevent species extinctions might reconsider if they knew that rather than preventing real extinctions, they were only preventing the removal of a geographically defined segment of an otherwise thriving species. in Earth Report 2000: Revisiting the True State of the Planet, ed. The Recent Evangelical Debate over Capitalism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing, 1991). When the claims are tested, they are found to be highly dubious. 37. 16:8—11); and the vesting of power in a people to elect their rulers (Deut. And it concluded, "based on all the evidence available to us, we cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes and calls for hasty actions. 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