Protect the Commons! For many, the idea of assets and ecosystems is too abstract. Commodities like timber are too dry (sometimes literally) and boring to care about. Let’s get to the good stuff. What are some of the really cool things we the American people own? How about these:

Acadia National Park
Arches National Park
Big Bend National Park
Denali National Park & Preserve
Dry Tortugas National Park
Everglades National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Mount Rainier National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Redwood National and State Parks
Shenandoah National Park
Virgin Islands National Park

How about Yellowstone and Yosemite? How about the Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Great Lakes, and Great Smokies along with the Appalachians, Cascades, Sierra Nevadas, and Rockies? Are you ready to turn these magnificent places over to corporate interests? The Cato Institute is:

… why should those who oppose development be able to impose their preferences regarding land use on everyone else? If there is more money to be made by turning the Grand Canyon over to the Walt Disney Co. rather than to an eco-sensitive tourism cooperative, it simply means that the public demand for Disney’s services at the Grand Canyon is greater than the public’s demand for Deep Green Trail Services Inc.

… Some object to privatization because they (environmentalists) believe that our national “crown jewels” (however defined) are sacred natural treasures and that no price tag can or should be attached to them. Well, one is welcome to one’s beliefs, but value is subjective. Land is worth only what people will pay for it. And while you might well believe that old growth forests are “sacred,” you can’t expect a government that strives to keep church separated from state to provide you with a taxpayer-financed cathedral.

The authors of this work also posit that “environmentalist complaints are really complaints about the preferences of the rabble. If the preferences of the rich were to dominate the market, the environment would likely benefit because the rich (as a group) care a lot more about the environment than anyone else.”

Do you buy the Cato Institute’s position on selling off the commons? Frankly, I’m firmly in the camp of Woody Guthrie on the matter:

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.