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LTE: Incentives are the key to a better environment – Bucks County Courier Times

LTE: Incentives are the key to a better environment – Bucks County Courier Times

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A recent article I read, “Our generation last line of defense against environmental catastrophe,” does an excellent job highlighting the concern that creating a sustainable future is not the primary focus of the U.S. government and some Americans. I agree with the notion that the U.S. is falling behind other nations that are implementing policies and incentives to create sustainable futures.

The structure of the U.S. makes it difficult to create a sustainable future. Because the U.S. is a capitalist country, its economic and political policies are profit-driven. Therefore, if there is not a financial incentive or economic benefit to being sustainable, then the initiative will not work. Policies and incentives must be produced to make America better off functioning sustainably than unsustainably.

For example, cities that have mixed recycling programs, where all plastics can be recycled using one bin, incentivize residents to recycle. In these cities, it is more expensive to not recycle since there is a charge for larger trash cans. This highlights the concept that there must be a structural incentive for people to change their attitudes and behavior regarding the environment.

I believe most Americans, regardless of age, would be willing to adapt to a sustainable lifestyle if it economically benefited them to do so.

Caitlin Mautz


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