More good news for Earth Day: The Economist has two outstanding articles on the rise of Environmental Economics, simply put – accounting for environmental externalities on the balance sheet. Environmental Economics also makes it more obvious that positive environmental moves have economic payoffs that are often bigger than heavyhanded alternatives. For example, as pointed out in the first article, reforesting the steep hillsides that flank the Panama Canal will prevent the erosion that clogs the channel, a cheaper investment than dredging.
The second article talks about the concept of “free market environmentalism”, a philosophy at times controversial, that suggests “Market forces could prove the environment’s best friend—if only greens could learn to love them”. Trends like carbon trading and the valuation of “ecosystemic services” are manifestaions of this kind of bridge-building that both environmentalism and business need. The fact that it’s The Economist’s cover story is the kind of validation that environmentalists need, and ought to take advantage of. (more talk on Worldchanging) Now get outside and have a great weekend!