Technology does more for environment than environmentalism

What has benefited nature more, ecology and environmentalism or economics and the free market? Believe it or not, Matt Ridley from PERC, says economics: “Despite all the dire predictions of environmental doom, for decades, environmental trends have been mainly positive, from forest cover to pollution levels. Why? One big reason is ‘land sparing’ in which technology—tractors, fertilizers, pesticides, the use of fossil fuels instead of wood and fiber, and now genetically modified crops—allow humans to produce more from less land. That leaves more land for forests and wildlife. In other words, the unintended effects of technology actually make a bigger positive difference to the environment than the legislation to create nature reserves.

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About the Author: David Rothbard

David Rothbard

David Rothbard is co-founder and President of CFACT.

  • jameshrust

    This improvement of society is from going to higher energy density energy sources from originally wood and dung through coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium. Along with reduced land use from this progress, we have had increased atmopheric carbon dioxide. There has to be a direct correlation of per capita human welfare increasing with increasing per capita carbon dioxide production. A vastly overlooked benefit from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is its effect as an airborne fertilizer. Carbon dioxide increases plant growth and larger and deeper plant roots which increases plants resistance to droughts. It may be proved some day Nature provoked humans to increase atmospheric carbon dioxide in order to feed world population growth from 2 billion in 1950 to 7 billion in 2012.
    A benefit of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide may be proved by the effects of the drought in the United States in 2012. Everyone was moaning about U. S. crop losses due to the drought in the summer of 2012. Now with March 2013 corn reserves of over 5 billion bushels, the U. S. the government is starting to realize they overestimated drought losses.
    A comparison needs to be made about crop production in 2012 with crop production in 1956, the last great drought in which the 2012 drought was compared with.
    Humans only account for about 3 percent of carbon dioxide production on the planet. It may be atmospheric carbon dioxide would have increased if no humans were on the planet. Rises and falls in atmospheric carbon dioxide were observed before humans appeared on the planet. History may show Nature produced the substantial increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide we have seen the past hundred years of 25 percent due to the needed atmospheric fertilizer demanded by the increased population.
    James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering(ret.)

    • interesting but nature is not a conscious being or god, it is just a figment of people’s imagination, probably because they had to find a substitute for God, who has a name and it is not nature, When Jehovah created the earth he had all matters in hand, he had the systems in place and he knew what man would do and he is prepared to correct any damage done, he has knowledge and power and wisdom and love far surpassing anything humans can ever do, in fact the angels cannot match him in these things, but co2 is not a pollutant anymore then oxygen is a pollutant, but God forsaw the tyranny and stupidity and harm that we are experiencing because of human rulerships. but this is soon to end

  • lets not forget consumers too demand cleaner food and cleaner enviroments usually get what they want until gov gets into ti and protects them from loss of revenue due to bad practices (look at the poor chinese and phillipinos and others wallowing in filth because of not having property rights or clout in controling their enviorment) and your right too, if others can produce food for me, then I can keep my acreages free to make landscaping catering to the crittors around here which I do, and if I had to grow all my food this land would have to grow food for me and my family and surly that would take away from wildlife habitate (especially if forced to use pest control measures to protect my crops) so technology makes our loads lighter in so many ways and gives us the resources and time and energy to expand in helping the wonderful crittors Jehovah has given us.