Table of Contents

Conservation & Preservation

14. Raise the Price of a Resource to Conserve It

Resource conservation or efficiency should not be a factor in determining which products or practices governments allow to be sold or used within their jurisdictions. The best, fairest and most logical way to enhance the preservation and conservation efforts for any resource is for the consumer price of that resource to rise. With resources priced higher, the markets will naturally tend to demand and buy appliances, tools, machines, and other equipment that more efficiently use that resource. The best first step to ‘naturally’ increase the cost of a resource, is to remove any subsidies such a resource receives. Governments should not dictate what kinds of appliances and equipment can be used based on their efficiency.

For example, home sellers should not be required to install low flow toilets as a precondition to selling the home. Neither should high efficiency lighting or the requirement to install skylights be required of anyone by governments. Mandatory fuel efficiency standards for vehicles should not be imposed on any automaker or consumer. If the price of the resource is set correctly, virtually all significant externalities associated with the use of that resource will be paid for by the consumer. If the consumption of a resource (or any product or service) is still deemed too high for either national security (like petroleum) or other reasons, a review of all the true costs of that good or service must be made and their reflection in the final cost must be ensured. If consumption is still deemed to be too high, then, and only then, should additional taxes on such a resource be imposed to further slow it’s consumption.

The flaring of natural gas should be charged a hefty tax to discourage its flaring and encourage its capture and selling.

The same principle could be applied to national parks and other protected lands. Entrance fees, user fees and other fees could be applied so that demand (and wear and tear) at such locations can be lessened.


15. Antarctica

The entire continent of Antarctica (everything from 60&deg S latitude to the South Pole including the Antarctic Ocean) should be declared an international protected preserve and should not be developed in any way that may have detrimental long-term effects.


16. Resource Extraction and Land Preservation – Long Term Strategy

As an option of last resort, and in exchange for government approval for private industry (mining, timber, etc.) to virtually rape the land (complete topographic alteration), the holders of those lands must turn over permanent, unrestricted ownership of those lands to the government as soon as their private activities have ended. Such lands could then be protected by introduction into the National Park System or other government land management programs for conservation or preservation or could be used for whatever other purpose the government decides is beneficial.


17. Minimizing Negative Effect of Dams on Environment

The best way to minimize the negative effects of dams on the environment is to not have them built in the first place, especially on the main stream. Dams built off the main stream for off stream water storage (and recreational uses), such as in secondary, tertiary and even smaller river tributaries and canyons within the watershed, would be far more acceptable by not disrupting the main stream environments. (The ideal alternative would be to suck water out of rivers when we need it, though this option would not provide us with a large enough capacity to instantly satisfy periods of high water demands, especially during the dry months, and would also too largely and too rapidly influence a river’s flow.)

Of course, placing dams offstream would require very large amounts of energy to pump water up for storage behind such dams. The energy required to store this water could be provided by excess generation from distributed wind and photovoltaic units connected to the electrical grid. Since these methods of electrical generation are relatively unreliable, but would, many times, produce much more energy than is needed at the time, this excess energy could be conveniently used to store water behind these dams.

Nevertheless, since water is used so inefficiently and since it is subsidized to such ridiculous degrees, the best water policy is to reduce the demand for water by reducing its subsidies, thus increasing the price to consumers, to more accurately reflect its true cost. This would reduce demand by several percentage points, at least, and lead to less of a need for water storage infrastructures.

Flood control is one of the most important services dams provide. Naturally, to serve this function most effectively, dams must be placed right in the main streams. However, such dams need not be filled with water in order to serve effectively as flood control tools. In fact, they would serve this purpose much better if they were kept empty until needed. Flood control dams could be built over the main streams with a tunnel right under the dams that allows the river to flow unimpeded through the bottom of the dam. Then, when required to prevent floods downstream, gates could be closed at the bottom of the dam to control the amount of water allowed through. Since the reservoir behind the dam would have been kept empty, rains of ‘Biblical proportions’ would probably still not cause fears of flooding downstream because the entire design capacity of the dam would need to be filled before problems downstream would occur. Of course, permanent industrial, commercial, or residential developments could not be allowed behind the dam because of this possibility. At least nice parks or wilderness areas could be set aside instead.


18. Protecting Significant Archaeological Sites & Land Formations

Governments should be responsible for protecting and preserving rare natural landscapes or other unique land features, significant ancient archeological sites or historical artifacts and any worthwhile land feature or artifact well enough to provide them with security and protection from common dangers such as weather and vandalism.

Any item identified as potentially possessing any significant historical or scientific value should immediately be treated in such a way that would give priority to the gathering of information before it is removed, destroyed or otherwise compromised. Such items should be immediately protected from natural or anthropogenic damage or destruction. If the item is controversial or highly valued, or sacred to some group of people, then reasonable measures should be taken to satisfy any concerns, especially with respect to destructive research techniques, vandalism, theft, etc. However, the scientific gathering of information should not be compromised or waived. The preservation of the historical accuracy of past events or items should take priority over accessibility (even to the disabled) and everything else, except maybe safety.

Penalties For Intentional Destruction of Archeological/Historical Items

The penalties for the intentional destruction of any item of significant historical value should be the median estimated auction value plus a multiple of at least 10 times that amount. High multiples, even higher than 10, should  be applied especially if such items were located within museums. The destruction of irreplaceable objects is a crime  that not just affects the present, but affects all future generations. Furthermore, the loss of such objects makes it that much more difficult for current and future generations to reconstruct and understand the past, especially with artifacts that relate to the distant past. During periods of rioting or civil unrest, ‘shoot-to-kill’ orders should be given to protect any archaeological museums or other locations that house artifacts with significant historical value.


19. Large Pests

Relatively large pests (generally plants or animals that are at least as large as mice) which cause significant environmental problems and upset the natural balance of an ecosystem, should be ascribed certain economic values, such as potential food values. An example would be rabbits and frogs in Australia. Rabbit shoes or frog recipes should be made up so that people have an incentive to go out into the wild and catch these creatures.

The penalties for people doing anything to defraud such a program by either feeding or farming individuals of the target population or doing anything other than capturing them from the wild should be a fine that is so severe that it would make the perpetrators wish that they had followed the rules.


20. Moonlight

Moonlight, especially during clear nights with a full moon, should be utilized to partially or, maybe in some cases, fully offset artificial lighting. For example, every other street light could be shut off when the moonlight is strong enough to provide auxiliary or sufficient light.