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Isn’t the world becoming a better, cleaner, place?

Summary:
From The Guardian:It’s an encouraging start to 2022. In an informal census – or perhaps a sort of watery award ceremony – the Wildlife Trusts’ marine review of 2021 has pointed to humpback whales off the north-east coast of Scotland and England, increasing numbers of seal pups being born, and seahorses in protected beds of eel grass off the Dorset coast.As has been noted, London’s air is now cleaner than it has been since 1306 and that first delivery of sea coal from Newcastle. Or, the environmental Kuznets curve is a real thing. As Maslow’s Pyramid points out humans have an hierarchy of needs and desires. Full bellies come first, then shelter, clothing and on. It’s only when baser desires are sated that attention turns to other desirables. Like, say, being able to breathe without

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From The Guardian:

It’s an encouraging start to 2022. In an informal census – or perhaps a sort of watery award ceremony – the Wildlife Trusts’ marine review of 2021 has pointed to humpback whales off the north-east coast of Scotland and England, increasing numbers of seal pups being born, and seahorses in protected beds of eel grass off the Dorset coast.

As has been noted, London’s air is now cleaner than it has been since 1306 and that first delivery of sea coal from Newcastle.

Or, the environmental Kuznets curve is a real thing. As Maslow’s Pyramid points out humans have an hierarchy of needs and desires. Full bellies come first, then shelter, clothing and on. It’s only when baser desires are sated that attention turns to other desirables. Like, say, being able to breathe without coughing, or gawping in delight at nature’s wonders.

The implication of which is that the richer a society becomes the cleaner it will be, the more nature it will leave room for. Just because that’s something that folk will spend some increasing part of their greater income upon. Which is true from even a cursory glance at the world around us. A useful proof, is one is required beyond this theoretical observation, is to try sucking in a lungful of air in Dhaka, New Delhi, London or Tokyo.

This is not just trite though, it needs to inform through into policy. If richer people have cleaner environments and we desire a cleaner global environment then we need to make all people richer. That is, the environmental movements’ calls for less economic growth are entirely the wrong answer.

Interesting what a little observation plus knowledge of how humans actually work can lead to, isn’t it?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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