Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why all this property market discussion from an ‘environmentalist’?

I have been thinking of changing the title of this blog—mostly because the term environmentalist is associated with fairly extreme views on the protection of ‘natural’ environments and other species, and partly because I also have a keen interest in the property market.

But in my mind, understanding property is the key to a reasoned approach to preserving our quality of life by preserving environmental amenity. Maybe I am more of a ‘quality of life’ economist who believes there are many non-market goods, including the quality of, and accessibility of, natural environments, and that these are major contributors to our well-being.

However the increasing fanaticism I have observed in some areas of the climate change movement, the lack of ability for some environmentalists to see the forest for the trees (pun intended) has led me to distance myself from some of the core environmentalist views.

Take the topic of the moment, climate change. Why don’t we hear about\
  • Any potential benefits of climate change (crop yields, new land use opportunities, etc)
  • The statistical reality behind some of the conclusions (high uncertainties)
  • Other important environmental issues that are cheap to address and provide immediate direct benefits
I feel like climate change is crowding out other local environmental concerns that will immediately contribute to quality of life of Australians.

In my mind, a quality combination of land use and environmental controls in our cities and towns can contribute far more to the well-being of society than other popular environmental issues.

So what then of the blog title? Any ideas? Or does the economist part imply a rational approach?


  1. You can't necessarily escape your dilemma by re-branding, Cam.

    There will always be extremists who will hitch their wagon to the latest flavour of the month, and who will, unfortunately in my view, get much more airtime than they deserve.

    PS: how about "The Rational Environmentalist"

  2. Cameron,

    If you want more public response for your blog you will have to predict a 40% fall in house values, or 20% gains in 12 months.

    Cameron your one of the rational debaters, and that works against you in this case. Sometimes you just have to say something controversial to stimulate debate, but how you do that without looking like a fruit loop is very difficult.

    Can I suggest that you comment on some of the other commentators OP's and use their work to generate a drawcard headline, but don't necessarily align with their work unless you agree. You have managed that on some occasions.

    It's a cheap trick of course, but it works well.

    Then we can go through a list of names such as "The Screamin Avenger" or the "Rabid Bull" etc etc.

    I am hoping that you realise that I am only half serious here, but you do have a problem with being "nice" People want strong decisive opinion, even though you and I know that there are so many shades of grey in most matters, that it is flexibility that is important, but as I said people won't read too many paragraphs and they want a decision that is fast and plausible.

    I'm starting to sound like a political coach aren't I.

    Best of luck.