[BOB is wearing an “I <3 OIL!” t-shirt and holds a sign that says “Drill, baby, drill!”] SEAMUS: What’s all this? Weren’t you JUST going to an environmentalism rally a couple of weeks ago?? BOB: Well, I WAS, but then you said all those things about air travel and meat and… I’m not ready to give those things up! SEAMUS: Aaaaaaaaactually, Bob, you don’t have to give up on protecting the planet in order to keep your preferred standard of living. Markets do a pretty great job of protecting the earth when they’re allowed to. BOB: no No NO! I do not want an economics lecture right now! (They blink at each other for a moment.) BOB: Ok, fine. What do you mean, markets protect the earth? SEAMUS: Take the Audubon Society for example. BOB: Oh, that doesn’t count, they’re a conservationist charity! SEAMUS: That they are! But they also own private property that they use for wildlife preserves. And they aren’t the only examples! In South Africa, private ownership of rhinos for non-lethal horn harvesting was allowed, and as a result, the South African rhino population quadrupled! But as soon as that was banned again, rhino poaching skyrocketed and the population started to go back down. And let’s not forget similar circumstances in Zimbabwe and Zambia with elephants and lions. Bob: Ok, that’s all well and good for saving certain species of animals, but what about the planet as a whole? What can we do about CLIMATE CHANGE?! Seamus: LET ME ESPLAIN: Markets are already working to solve this. Thanks to entrepreneurial thinking, scientists have already devised ways to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere and turn it into valuable commodities like carbon nanotubes and even back into coal! It’s why we have more fuel-efficient cars and planes! That would never have happened if markets and the profit motive didn’t exist. Who knows what they’ll think of next? BOB: But what if those are just pipe dreams? How do we know those market solutions would help?!? SEAMUS: Well, we don’t know for sure! In the same way that we don’t know if the government mandates would help, either! But that goes to show why this problem would be better handled by the market- businesses need to present results. All the government needs to do is say it has good intentions, and then whoever disagrees is lumped into a category of people who supposedly don’t want the problem solved! BOB: you know, all this talk about cleaning the environment and making the world a better place through privatized means, just gave me some insight, all environmentalism should start and end with common individuals who are willing to take responsibility in a sane and reasonable fashion…for the children… SEAMUS: why yes, Bob, that’s a very good-HEY!- (Bob Grabs and crumples up Seamus like a newspaper and shoves him into a recycle bin listed for paper) SEAMUS: (undistinguished muffled noises) BOB: (places hand over heart) for the Children… (music from “sea to shining sea” plays) LINKS https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/09/10/the-worlds-largest-ocean-cleanup-has-officially-begun/#342ea8342738 https://www.perc.org/2017/11/28/hunting-can-be-good-for-lions-and-elephants/ https://fee.org/articles/property-rights-help-environmentalists-protect-wildlife/ https://fee.org/articles/capitalism-should-play-a-bigger-role-in-protecting-the-environment/ https://fee.org/articles/can-free-market-environmentalism-save-rhinos/ https://www.ecowatch.com/military-largest-polluter-2408760609.html https://www.sciencealert.com/a-new-way-to-turn-carbon-dioxide-into-solid-rock-could-help-rewind-global-warming https://www.technologyreview.com/s/540706/researcher-demonstrates-how-to-suck-carbon-from-the-air-make-stuff-from-it/ https://fee.org/articles/flying-less-is-not-a-solution-to-reducing-carbon-emissions-innovation-is/ https://fee.org/articles/in-the-fight-against-climate-change-free-markets-are-our-biggest-ally/

Common Sense Soapbox


About this show

Short videos with a punchy, comedic tone and entertaining Socratic characters taking on trending issues and important concepts from a classical liberal perspective, written & animated by Seamus Coughlin.

Is it Really People vs. the Planet?

September 24, 2019

Previously on Common Sense Soapbox, Seamus told Bob that tons of the most commonly proposed solutions to environmental problems were going to cost trillions and lower everyone's standard of living, so Bob isn't as keen on making the sacrifices climate activists are demanding.

That means he doesn't want to save the planet, right?


Written by Jennifer Maffessanti & Seamus Coughlin
Animated by Seamus Coughlin
Produced by Sean W. Malone


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