We have this running argument. The Right says that we have to have constant economic growth even if it’s at the expense of environmental health. They say: ‘The oil pipeline will create jobs’; ‘Mountain top removal mining will create jobs and make the worker’s lives better’; ‘Taking away protected status from public lands and letting them be exploited by logging companies and mining corporations will be good for the working people’.
It’s a lie. The corporations will get more profit. A few people will add a couple more zeros to their net wealth, but the working people and middle class? No, Their going to get screwed, hard, again. The environmental degradation that follows the endless money grab game will hit them hardest, and they will be the least able to afford to escape. Again and again and again this tedious, bankrupt argument is foisted on us. And again and again and again the oil spills, the ground water is poisoned or the city floods and the poor are left crushed and desperate. All that money from the ‘economic activity’? Oh, that’s all gone. Long gone. It ran off with some rich white guys, probably. There were no serious general public investments made. The working class is living hand to mouth and that hasn’t changed. The government the Right loves to rail against is left trying to re-build after whatever new environmental catastrophe has happened. They’ll have to tighten the screws on the poor and middle class some more to pay for the re-build or repair. So much for the economic prosperity of exploitation.
The argument is a lie. It’s not– You can have either economic growth OR environmental health. There is no economic well being without environmental well being. They are not mutually exclusive propositions; they are inextricably bound conditions. You can not have one without the other for long. As a country, and as a species, we’re either going to come to understand that or destroy ourselves.
The people who keep making the spurious argument that you have to destroy the environment to create economic growth should be bull whipped in public every time that poisonous lie pours out of their mouth.
Houston is a refinery port city. There’s one big environmental strike against them. And the hard Right government of Texas does not like to stand in the way of for-profit development. They’ve pretty much paved over the wetlands and prairies around Houston. The very environmental habitat that would absorb large amounts of rainfall. Three quarters of it is gone.
Here’s a quote from Mike Talbot, head of Houston’s Harris County Flood Control District concerning environmentalists objections to paving over the prairie land around Houston:
“They have an agenda … their agenda to protect the environment overrides common sense,” he said.
Indeed, someone overrode commonsense.
The developers and contractors who bulldozed Katy Prairie in Houston are fat and happy right now. The common people of Houston, on the other hand, are tied up with the business of desperate improvisation to escape and survive.