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  • A Time for Giving Thanks

    Usually the time to give thanks is, well, Thanksgiving. But on Earth Day, economist Don Boudreaux had plenty of reasons to be thankful:

    “My son, Thomas (a sixth grader), has a homework assignment today: write an essay entitled “What Earth Day Means to Me.” I will help him out with my own essay.

    Earth Day, to me, means an opportunity to express thanks for all the ways that capitalism makes our lives and environment cleaner and healthier.

    I’m thankful for the automobile, which has cleaned our streets and highways of animal feces, which is both foul and filthy itself, and that attracts flies that spread it into our homes and workplaces.

    I’m thankful for the automobile also because it allows us to travel in a cleaner environment than we had when we traveled on horseback or in buggies. Modern automobiles cool or heat the air immediately surrounding their passengers, making these passengers comfortable and, in summer, less sweaty and stinky.

    I’m thankful for air-conditioning that keeps our interior environments not only comfortable but more healthy, as it allows us to better keep insects out of our homes, shops, factories, and offices — and also, in humid places, to dramatically reduce the growth of mold and mildew in our homes.

    I’m thankful for indoor plumbing. (The anti-polluting properties here are too obvious to spell out. Ditto for disposable diapers — yet another product for which I’m most grateful.)

    I’m thankful for the inexpensive soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, dental floss, toilet tissue, and plastic bandages and other first-aid items that make it possible for us to de-pollute our persons regularly.

    I’m thankful for electronic appliances, such as those that (along with modern detergents – for which I’m also thankful) allow us to clean our used clothing and dirty dishes — clean these more deeply and more thoroughly than was possible in the past without spending multiples of the time on such tasks that we spend on these tasks today. These appliances enable us to recycle our clothing and our dishes for many reuses.

    I’m thankful for electricity for making these appliances possible – and for enabling us to light our home without dirty candles, and for enabling us to heat our homes without coal, wood, peat, or other filthy substances.

    I’m thankful for plastics, which very effectively and at very low costs allow us to keep bacteria confined. A plastic storage bag, for example, keeps food bacteria confined to the interior of the bag.

    I’m thankful for refrigeration for retarding the growth of bacteria and, hence, keeping our foods cleaner and healthier.

    I’m thankful for chemical fertilizers that increase the productivity of the earth’s soil, and thereby helps to prevent malnutrition — which, in turn, better enables each of our bodies to succeed at fighting off diseases that are more likely to sicken, or even kill, malnourished persons.

    I’m thankful for factories (and the fuels that power them) that make possible things such as modern textiles — modern textiles that enable even poor people in market societies to own many changes of clean clothing.

    I’m thankful for modern insecticides and cleansers that help to protect us from bugs and bacteria that would otherwise pollute our environments.

    I am, in short, thankful for private-property markets that are the main driving force behind these (and many other) anti-pollutants — a force so powerful that we today enjoy the incredible luxury of being able to worry, should we so choose, about very distant and very speculative forms of environmental problems such as species loss and global warming.”

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to A Time for Giving Thanks

    1. ozzy6900 says:

      And I'll bet they gave the poor kid an "F" for that report!

    2. mary genovese capacc says:

      i never liked the color green when i was a child and over 40 years later…i now have a reason. my favorite color has always been red..like the color of the sunrise and sunset…i understand pollutants make for such beautiful hues in the sky. thank goodness for that. now everything is green…i like the green of my lawn after i put down some fertilizer..the same for the beautiful flowers that come up in the spring and the beautiful tomatoes that ripen in august. i love the warmth that my oil heat gives me in the winter..though i had to use less because of the rising cost. i built a fire in my firplace. i like the crackling of the wood and the puffs of smoke that rise from the chiminey..there's something reminisent of my childhood..when i smell burning wood, outside. i love gasing up my car and going fast, when no one is looking. i love the sound of a reving engine. i think i could have been a nascar driver. i love plastic bags at the supermarket..i get to use them as garbage bags in my bathroom. there is something about smokestacks as i drive through small mining towns..romantic to see the smoke billowing into the sky with mountains in the backdrop. goodness, i could go on and on about how i despise everything that is "green" but i have to go and make my husband dinner now on the barbeque grill…have i told you how much i love the smell of burning charcoal on my grill?

    3. Barb -mn says:

      A plus!

    4. Mike, Winston-Salem says:

      Mary Genovese Capaccio… that was great!

      Why is it that we can't appreciate all the advances that we've made in making our lives longer and more enjoyable without having to suffer through these "guilt trips" that are constantly being thrown at us?

      Its time to start throwing back.

    5. mary genovese capacc says:

      you know why mike? the liberal, socialist, progressives…whatever you want to call them…want us all to be the same. they pride themselves in believing all should be equal. gone is individuality, modivation, personal responsibility, competition, freedom of expression and enterprise. gone are the days when working hard and having dreams materialize, was a reality. gone is the security you felt when other countries threatened us. gone is the repect for the military that courageously defends us. gone is the hope that to the world, we shine as a country, to look up to, with respect and gratitude. it's gone mike..but you know something…i've always been a rebel with a cause and this one i can't sit out…to my America..the land of the free and the land of opportunity and to the patriots that share in winning it back…i thank you. do you mind if i bow?

    6. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Great piece!

      Capitalism which is embodiment of our founding principles has helped raise millions upon millions of the poor people throughout the world. Socialism, communism and fascism on the other hand impoverishes millions upon millions. Yet, people in this country think socialism (American progressivism)is great!

    7. enerwise, sc says:

      WE should bow to you, Mary

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