24 October, 2007

Environmental Cost

Recent Environmental Workshop in the Cayman Islands. There is an interesting environmental article in today’s Cayman Net News. I interrupt a series of posts examining the working of the Anguilla Environmental Charter to bring you a mention of it.

Apparently, a group of environmental officials from the British Overseas Territories in the West Indies met there to discuss how to calculate the monetary value of our environments.

The experts hope to be able to help our decision makers become more aware of the need to do a cost benefit analysis. They must learn to take into account environmental and social values, and not just the direct financial considerations of development projects.

The truth is that there are no prices or values placed to our eco-system good and services. The natural and cultural environment is not like other financial assets that are traded in markets.

Unless our leaders can come to understand the economic value of our environment, they will be unable to make good decisions about projects and policies.

Who knows what value we lost when Mr Hodge sold all the sand at Windward Point.

What about the value of Sile Bay Beach. Was what Ronald got for the sand worth the cash he received? Was whatever fine he paid anywhere near the equivalent of what we lost?

Who represented Anguilla at this workshop?

Will we get a report on how what was learned will be put to work for Anguilla?


  1. Had not The Lord chosen to take the widely-respected Walter Hodge from us at an early age, would he have sold all the sand at Windward Point Beach?

  2. "Externalities are the last refuge of the dirigistes." -- Friedrich Hayek


    You can't calculate prices. They're discovered. Everything has a price. That's why they call "economics" (that is, finance for politicians :-)), the dismal science.

    The cost of anything, as the old price-theory saw goes, is the foregone alternative.

    The cost of the "environment" -- whatever *that* means -- is what people are willing to pay for it. Sometimes sand is worth more in meeting the government requirement for concrete construction than the sand is worth to future tourists who haven't seen it yet, or who will be prevented from seeing it because it's locked behind a fence in some government-expropriated "nature preserve", or whatever.

    Furthermore, government control reduces income, an act which, not too paradoxically, reduces population. Which means there won't be so many people in future generations to pass the "environment" -- whatever that is -- on to, anyway.

    Environmentalism is leftism, pure and simple. Green is the new red. And, as Bertrand Russell said once, leftism is the politics of the aristocracy and their former retainers in their centuries-long --and loosing -- war against the "nouveau riche", or the "bourgeoisie", or the "middle class", or "yuppies", or whatever you want to call the people who actually invent new stuff, create value in modern society and pay taxes -- and show up on Anguilla and spend their extremely discretionary income there, literally for fun.

  3. What hog wash is this poster trying to sell?We need to protect our environment from people like them who seems to disregaard the seroiusness of our failing ecosystems worldwide.Not everything is renewable,not everything can be replaced or reinvented when it has been exhausted.It is this carefres and careless attitudes that has the world reeling now trying to correct our misuse of our resources.
    Anguilla is a tiny speck in the world scheme of things ,however, we still need to protect what little we have.Where will we go when all is lost?Oh sure some of us have home or family else where but what about those of us who dont?It is time we really get up and do ouir duty to help.We dont need people with rethoric and no actions.What use or help are they to us.True we need the babyboomers and the rich and famous to visit and spend their cash but dont think for moment that they wont haul up and head to another exotic loaction whenour island becomes desolate,toxic and and health hazard because of environmental mismanagement.Who goes to chernobol these days?hope you get my point.If there is no beaches what can we offer that other countries can't?Desert?all continents have them.
    Be careful but most of all be true to your country and take care of its environment.
    All of these major companies know that they are required to complete feasibilty studies before undertaking any major project so everywhere else in the world.These costs are built in into their project budget and is not an added expense.Dont be fooled by their quick talkers,their show of dollars or their threats of withdrawl,if they want to build they will no matter what.We have to be committed to our agreements and they will respect us in so doing.No bribery or kick backs are necessary if we do the right thing because our reward will be hte future of Anguilla.

  4. I'm reminded of a post on the Montserrat Mailing List last year in which the proposed Centre Hills National Park was defined by a member of the local hate group there as a racist plot. "Iris" posted:

    "The people behind the Center Hills park want a "Negro Free" back drop behind the bay were they plan to live in the near future. Soon there will be a gate at Carrs Bay. Black people please feel free to pass this on to your off spring because it will happen."

  5. How can someone sell the sand of a beach if no one owns the beaches except all of the Anguillian people?

  6. Good question about beach ownership. The dunes above the high tide line are not owned by the people (sometimes called the "government" or the "Crown").

  7. Most "national parks" are set up by rich people to keep the riff-raff out. Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole, in Wyoming (and Megan's Bay in STT, and most of St. John, for that matter), was bought by the Rockefellers, etc., and "donated" to the government so that the hoi polloi wouldn't disturb various his/her nibses in their outdoor recreations.

    The modern "environmental" --whatever that is-- movement is all about buying out productive land, 'giving' it to the government to be maintained in perpetuity at taxpayer expense, so that the riff-raff are kept at bay and won't spoil the view.

    Look at it this way. Texas, which was a country before it became a state of the US, had virtually no government land, and the government had to buy what it owned, now has arguably the freest people owning the most property, in the US. Or at least until LBJ discovered a way to sup at the public trough on the behalf of the "people". Alaska was bought after the Civil War with government funds, and the vast majority of it is still in government hands. It is also the the largest recipient of Other People's Stolen Money in the form of tax dollars. Think "Bridge to Nowhere".

    One of the nice things about Anguilla is that it's more like Texas than Alaska. Historically Anguillians owned a boat and a piece of the rock, and most still do. Think of them as, well, cowboys of the sea. The rest of the Carribbean is more like Alaska: The vast majority of people are marginalized, shoved into each other's faces, renting where they live on other people's marginalized land, or worse, they live on land expropriated for "the people" and permitted to live on it "for free" in exchange for votes, but without the ability to make improvements on it and advance the lives of themselves and their children. Except, in Alaska, there's at least the pretense of private use of one's private property, and in the rest of the Caribbean, corruption makes personal control of even property that's supposed to belong to you impossible.

  8. Who used to take the kids swimming at Little Harbour? Who would want to swim there now? That devestation was caused simply by pulling up the plants("weeds") that used to grow there and clean the sea. The environment is not something to be taken lightly. It doesn't take much for every beach to look like that or Junks Hole or Coney Island. Its not only that the tourists wouldn't want to come visit, it's that we would have to live here amongst it. Look at the impact of something as "small" as bringing in a few foreign plants. Don't sleep people !

  9. to the second from last commentator:
    which Caribbean Country are you referring to?
    You obviously have not either visited any or read about any.
    Your hidden agenda is not so hidden after all; your ignorance reveals it.

  10. >which Caribbean Country are you referring to?

    Actually, I was referring to all of them, and how Anguilla, and the Anguillians, differed exceptionally from all the rest, for the most part. The ubiquity of plantation agriculture for most of Caribbean history, and the absence of the same on Anguilla, caused large, usually government-granted, land holdings-- and slavery -- on most of the Caribbean islands, and the failure of both on Anguilla. That is, for the most part, why Anguillians have historically *been* free people, owning their own property, no matter what some piece of paper in a distant government office said to the contrary. Anguillian exceptionalism is just as much a fact as American exceptionalism. History may have been hard on Anguilla but it made her free, at least in the minds of her people. And, as George Clinton said, "free your mind and your..." well, I'm sure you can look it up. Anguillians have had free minds for centuries.

    > You obviously have not either visited any or
    > read about any.

    Let's see, Puerto Rico, all of the US Virgins (a childhood in St. Thomas), lots of the British Virgins, Antigua, Anguilla, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Nevis, all in that order. That enough? Been reading about the Caribbean since i was old enough to read. Assume that I'm older than you. ;-). By the way, I've lived in both Texas and Alaska, too, in case you've got issues with my qualifications there.. ;-)

    >Your hidden agenda is not so hidden after all;
    >your ignorance reveals it.

    You can presume that I have no hidden agenda whatsoever, as what I've said is, heh, pretty self-explanatory. :-)

    As for the *facts* of the claims I made about the ownership of property, stranded assets, and a necessary, if not sufficient, cause of poverty in the Caribbean in particular and the Americas in general, I commend to you the work of Hernando de Soto (no, not that one, the economist), of Peru.

    Wikipedia is your friend:


    By the way, speaking of environmental devastation, virtually all the current wildfires burning in California started on "public", land and not on someone's lawn. :-).

    Contrary to socialist mythology, private land ownership prevents environmental degradation significantly better than "public" ownership does. They don't call it the "tragedy of the commons" for nothing. If "everybody" owns something, then *nobody* does. The tragedy of the commons, is, of course, that *nobody* owns the commons, and thus it becomes everybody's dumping ground-- and political hobby-horse.

  11. It is true that Land ownernship in Anguilla is primarily private own. Unlile the other islands where the people have to buy land from the government. However, we should be careful that we don't make it impossible for those persons who have no land as yet by selling inflated land to foreigners.

    Also another issue creeping into ANguilla is the whole racism by attacking the self esteem of the least educated. I hear a politician using that agenda. And even some of our caribbean family like to talk about white folks on the island. And while they talking about white folks to us, they are the same ones doign everything to take all the civil service jobs away from us.

    So my people becareful who you listen to and treat each person on the basis of their character and as individuals. We have good and bad people all over in our midst regardless of race and where they come from.

    I am not surprise that the most of the fires in Califronaia was as a result of arson. Those people were about to lose their houses in a a real estate crisis. What else will people do when they are desparate. Insure and Burn is not a new concept.

    Lets hope that type of fraud doesn't flourish in AXA. The last person who tried it by leaving his planes when a hurricane was approaching got nothing.

  12. Although I strongly dislike the overall tone of the second to last poster, I agree with one point that privately owned land is easier preserved and protected than public land. What environmental preservation groups like Sierra Club and others do is buy as much land as possible so it cannot be developed and destroyed. Many of my circle of friends came up with a similar plan some years ago when we started getting seriously disturbed about the rampant overdevelopment. We wanted to pool our resources and buy as much land as possible and just let it sit there as is. However, we were a bit too late as prices escalated so rapidly, it became unfeasible. I thought the Anguilla Trust was supposed to be doing something similar???

  13. It shoild be our duty as concerned citizens to work in concert with Gov't to establish guide line and policy for theprotectoin of our environment and natural resources.Any and all safe guards should debated and carefully analyzed prior to implementation.However, since Gov't is unwilling to initiate this step ,we,the people,should protest this and demand that they honor theagreements they signed in regards to the environmental charter.This is sheer stupidity on the Gov't part.Even though we need economic development,what is the price that we are willing to pay?What sacrifices are we willing and able to endure?Surely we are not that gullible to accept the inticements of 'big' corporations and their word.These entities are in the business to make profits and they will cheat,steal,and use any subterfuge or deception tactic to achieve that goal.We are the carekeepersof our country and it time we act like it.Investments are good in that they strengthen of economic and financial status.However,careful consideration and planning is neede before undertaking any project no matter how lucrative it might seem or how it might be perceive as being beneficial to our economy.
    Without our beaches,clean water,and coastal waters ,what do we have ?Where will our fishermen fish?Who will make the trek to visit us when we are a desolate toxic wasteland?For this reason and most importantly for our longevity and continued existence we need to protect NOW before we lose the only thing that bonds us all together.Anguilla.

  14. Only in Anguilla do we have endless rethoric and personal attacks we try to engage in worthwhile dialouge.
    We have to resist the urge to vent and engage in personal attacks or personal vindettas for this only tend to lessen our credibility in the world arena.It appears that we are operating or governing our country in complete chaos.With so much talent,expertise,education and personal opinions it is appalling that we as Anguillians cannot reach a workable concensus in developing programmes that are workable and acceptable.Such short comings are inherently dangerous and detrimental to the continued advancement of our society.Agreements,commitments,covenants and obligations are standard that are indicative of countries working together.These are things that are expected to be honored.If there is a breakdown in these where one fails to honor their obligations the consequences can sometimes be catastophic.It thus behooves us to demand that they be honored and respected before we loose the respect of the world community.Once we loose face we might never be able to recover from it. this What will we become if noone wants to conduct business with us or or Gov't?


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