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The Issue

Protecting the natural environment is vitally important. We owe it to future generations to leave the world a better place than we found it. We all enjoy and want to protect the diversity of wildlife and scenic landscapes our parents and their parents left in our care.

Affordable energy, economic growth, and environmental stewardship need not be at odds with one another. Affordable energy and economic growth create the economic resources necessary for effective environmental stewardship. The energy sources that are most abundant and affordable are surprisingly environmentally friendly, especially given recent technological advances.

The best way to be pro-environment is to be pro energy. Affordable, reliable, and plentiful energy enables us to protect the environment while also creating jobs and the goods and services we need. Expensive and unreliable energy doesn’t protect the environment; it actually harms it by being less efficient and more land-intensive.

Free-Market Environmentalism is an approach to environmental problems that focuses on improving environmental quality using property rights and markets. Markets, property rights, and the rule of law are fundamental to economic growth, and economic growth is fundamental to improving environmental quality. There is a strong correlation between treatment of the environment and standards of living.

Our Stance

Property rights make the environment an asset rather than a liability by giving owners an incentive for stewardship. Markets and the process of exchange give people who have different ideas and values regarding the use of natural resources a way of cooperating rather than fighting. When cooperation supplants conflict, gains from trade emerge.

Featured Subtopics

Young woman holding leaf
Free-Market Environmentalism is an approach to environmental problems that focuses on improving environmental quality using property rights and markets.
Forests and sky
Without allowing market forces to have a greater say in how federal lands are used, Western states will continue to suffer economic and environmental disadvantages.
Elderly woman and child in garden
True sustainable development improves living standards. It allows people to develop and use new technologies and best practices that conserve resources and reduce waste and pollution. It gives people incentives to choose the most efficient energy and mineral sources and to abandon them once better ones are found.

Additional Subtopics

  • Air Quality
  • Biotechnology and GMO
  • Cancer
  • Climate Change
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Environmental Education
  • Environmental Groups
  • Environmental Justice
  • Forests
  • Global
  • Pesticide and DDT
  • Plastics
  • Population
  • Private Conservatism
  • Private Property
  • Progress
  • Recycling
  • Regulation: Federal
  • Regulation: States
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stratespheric Ozone
  • Toxic Substances
  • Water Quality
  • Wildlife

Videos

Title: Joseph Bast Opening Remarks at ICCC-12
Description: Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast opens the 12th International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, DC on March 23, 2017. To see every video from the conference, go to this URL: http://climateconference.heartland.org/

Environment Experts Team

The Heartland Institute's experts on environment policy issues are available for legislative testimony, speaking engagements, and media interviews.

Heartland Staff Policy Experts