Remember when Wisconsin used to prioritize environmental concerns? Yeah, seems like ancient history. Apparently, the Badger State has been transformed into a proving ground for how much the free market can harm the environment without people really noticing too much. Between efforts in the legislature and the Walker administration to pass the mining bill, restrict wind energy, reduce the Knowles-Nelson Stewarship Fund and Focus On Energy and lessen incentive for farmers not to sell land to development, the lyrics to a Joni Mitchell song are becoming reality. OK, our forests are not going to become parking for a strip mall, but the trend is vivid.
Why did this happen? Simple: an extremely pro-business government, the first in the state since the advent of Earth Day by Wisconsin's own Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Being strongly pro-business means reducing regulations, and regulations are the lynchpin of conservation. The fewer regulations on pollution, gas mileage and commercial land use, then, theoretically, the more money businesses can make. Ideally, with more jobs and a stronger state economy. That's the theory, anyway. We've seen the aforementioned anti-environmental actions taken since the GOP takeover of the state house in the 2010 elections and, well, let's just say the jobs still haven't flowed back to the state.
This is selfishness. Putting the pursuit of profits over the land around us. To say, "It's the free market, and if the free market says the envinronment suffers, too bad" is without regard for long-term vision. Greed over green.
I cannot imagine how one can feel a sense of satisfaction knowing the best thing they did was allow more money to be made. The key is what you DO with the money. Do you reinvest in society? Do you help others? Or, do you only build your profits and invest in more funds to get richer, still. while the view around you goes to a wasteland? This is a moral dilemma, and balance is the ideal, yet our current state government is failing the test. Selfishness, in the long run, is never rewarding.