Polluters’ Shell Game

author: 
William Freudenburg • Illustrations by William L. Brown
 

Quick-fill in the missing word:

"environment _____________ jobs."

 

For most people, the word is "versus." But that's a triumph of spin-doctoring and is seriously misleading-bad not just for environmental protection, but also for the economy. In fact, a growing body of evidence shows not just that environmental protection can be an important source of new jobs (see essay, "Meltdown or Green Deal?," p. 13), but also that many of the worst environmental problems come from facilities that contribute surprisingly little to the economy. Worst of all, at least for environmentalists, a significant part of the blame for this misunderstanding is theirs alone, growing out of accepted ways of thinking about environmental problems that are just plain wrong.