“The only animals threatened with extinction are animals not owned by anybody.”      -Thomas Sowell

While private property and making profits sounds good to the individual and the corporation, it is important to us on how they affect the allocation of scarce resources. One of these resources is mother nature, especially in her cleanest state. Let us look first at how the drive for profit, and attempts to mitigate loss, push individuals and business to innovate and protect, and how that is and can be applied to the environment.

Timber is one of the most essential industries in Arkansas. Of course, a company who is selling timber to paper companies (also another major industry in Arkansas) wants to have a healthy crop. It is in the interest of the lumbering company or logging operators to have healthy and sturdy forests. These companies invest their own money in research for protection against pests and disease, healthily prescribe burns and protect from wildfires, and make sure that the crop is nutritious and fertile.

If none of this was the case, and the forests failed to produce good healthy trees in appropriate quantities, the several industries involved would cease to make a profit. The drive to make money pushes the lumbers, loggers, foresters, paperers, etc., to take care of the environment that is their property. Timber prices include all product, pass or fail; because a farmer must make up for the crop he isn’t able to sell. And of course, lumber companies will constantly reseed and replant when a tree is cut; it would be financial suicide if they didn’t. Property owners taking care of their own, something beautiful, this is known as self-monitoring.

This is not the case on government lands, as government workers get paid whether the forest is healthy or not. Here we see the classic example of the “Tragedy of the Commons”. In old England, sheep could graze on unowned land. The ground quickly became patchy and dusty, and the sheep became scrawny and unhealthy. Private owned land adjacent to the commons was lush and the sheep fat. This problem exists wherever socialism and collectivism do, and where private property rights do not.

We must find ways to put this concept and reality to play in other environmental fields. It has worked for animals; Colonel Sanders wasn’t about to let chickens go extinct. It has worked for water; large desalination plants contract out parts of oceans for turning water drinkable. The only places that are polluted are those not owned by anyone. This starts with deregulation and privatization, something Conduit for Commerce supports.