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Restoration Economy: Save 220,000 Rural Jobs And Conserve Nature?

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Feb 6 2017 Ecosystem Marketplace see full article here

…. There is, however, a way to reduce regulations without hurting jobs or the environment ….companies save money by cutting jobs, and in this case, the jobs they cut will be those that pay people to plant trees, restore rivers, and turn soggy, unproductive farms into wetlands that filter water, purify air, and slow climate change.

Those jobs are part of a $25 billion “restoration economy” that directly employs 126,000 people and supports 95,000 other jobs – mostly in small businesses – according to a 2015 survey that environmental economist Todd BenDor conducted through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The restoration economy is already providing jobs for loggers across Oregon, and even some coal miners in Virginia, but it could disappear if the GOP environmental rollback continues. Here are 11 things you need to know to understand it.

1.   It’s not Solar and Wind

The restoration economy is not to be confused with the renewable energy boom that employs 374,000 people in solar parks and 101,738 on wind farms. Like those, however, the restoration economy is part of a burgeoning “green economy” that’s transforming forests, farms, and fields around the world.

2.   It’s Government-Driven

…The demand for restoration, however, isn’t as automatic as the demand for electricity is, because most companies and even some landowners won’t clean up their messes without an incentive to do so. Economists call these messes “externalities” because they dump an internal responsibility on the external world, and governments are created in part to deal with them – mostly through “command-and-control” regulation, but also through systems that let polluters either fix their messes or create something as good or better than what they destroy.

3.   It’s Often Market-Based

….At least $2.8 billion per year flows through ecosystem markets in the United States, according to Ecosystem Marketplace research.

4.   Infrastructure Also Drives Restoration

The federal government – especially the military – holds itself to high environmental standards, as do many states. Government activities alone support thousands of restoration jobs. Government agencies are big buyers of credits, often to offset damage caused by infrastructure projects, but the link between infrastructure and restoration goes even deeper than that. In Philadelphia, for example, restoration workers are using water fees to restore degraded forests and fields as part of a plan to better manage storm runoff. In California, meadows and streams that control floods are legally treated as green infrastructure, to be funded from that pot of money. “Green infrastructure”, it turns out, is prettier than concrete and lasts longer to boot.

5.   Markets Can Reduce Regulations

Nature is complex, and rigid regulations often fail to address that complexity, as environmental economist Todd BenDor makes clear when he points to regulations ”….Done right, environmental markets can replace overly prescriptive regulations, but they still require government oversight and regulation. “Markets are entirely reliant on strong monitoring, verification, and enforcement of limits,” says BenDor. “Provisions must be made to ensure that, but in reality it’s often a problem.”

6.   Restoration Stimulates Rural Economies

In 2015, BenDor published a study called “Estimating the Size and Impact of the Ecological Restoration Economy”, which found restoration businesses in all 50 states. California had the most, but four “Red” states filled out the top five: Virginia, Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. Last place went to North Dakota…

7.   It’s been Mapped…

8.   The Jobs are Robot-Proof…

9.   The Jobs are Cost-Effective…

10.  It Doesn’t Stifle Business…

11.  It Can Be Improved…

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