At Tuesday’s town council meeting, environmental scientist Sue Lanza spoke about the dangers of natural capital degradation due to continued unsustainable resource use. “The rate at which our local natural capital is being used is not sustainable and unless we do something to stop it, we will no longer have access to clean water, clean air, or timber!” While one town council member noted that population control would get at the root of the problem, Councilman Peter Budd proposed an alternative solution—a tax on all goods representing their environmental costs. Councilman Budd contends that such a tax will remind consumers of the harmful environmental costs associated with such goods and will adjust their buying habits accordingly. Patricia Ross, local businesswoman and owner of Fremont Timber, complained that the tax would result in significant profit losses for her company and decreased jobs in the community. Councilwoman Nita Smith added that although failure to include the costs associated with producing local goods is one cause of environmental problems, there are additional causes not addressed by this proposal. After a heated discussion, the motion was tabled until the next town council meeting.
Support Mrs. Lanza’s contention that continued unsustainable use will result in a loss of natural capital by identifying and describing THREE ways in which human activities degrade natural capital.
Human activity 1
Human activity 2
Human activity 3
Consider the arguments regarding the proposed environmental tax, then make
A similar argument against the environmental cost tax
A similar argument in favor of the environmental tax.
Consider Councilwoman Smith’s statement that failure to include environmental costs is only one cause of environmental problems. Identify and discuss THREE other root causes of environmental degradation that might not be addressed by this proposal.
Root cause 1
Root cause 2
Root cause 3
Propose ONE alternative solution to the unsustainable resource use in Fremont that does not involve an environmental cost tax.