September 27, 2004
I'm not an environmentalist. I love the outdoors and hate dirty, polluted air, but to me, the title "environmentalist" connotes one who puts aside the need for business and progress and just wants to dress everyone in hemp and sandals. I like to think there's something in between the two sides. I like Micheal Leavitt's statement, when sworn in as head of the EPA, where he implies a "productive middle ground."So, when I started reading this article about turning a productive corn field into a swamp, I initially thought it was a case of environmentalists wasting perfectly good productivity. But I read the article and started thinking a bit about the idea and I've come to the conclusion it's actually not a bad idea. This was aided by the moderate comments of one of the initiators of the project, who said, "There was a time when the country was growing so fast and we were so dependent on our own farming that it may have made sense to use land like this to grow crops...[but] we don't need these flood plains for farming anymore." I couldn't help but agree with the guy. Currently, the government spends a lot of money on farming subsidies -- some $94 billion. While the subsidy was started to aid small farmers in the Great Depression, a lot of those subsidies are now paid to farmers to get them not to grow so much food, since there would be too much supply on the market to meet the demand. This is pretty inefficient, but is carried out by many large countries. Naturally limiting the supply would both reduce government payouts (albeit by a tiny percentage in this specific case), and here, would create thriving wetlands.
Posted by charr at 9:00 AM