The Green Movement in a Flush?

February 28, 2009

Controlling the human impact on the environment has become quite an issue lately. How different societies attempt to become more responsible varies depending upon the specific character of each society. For example, if primitive coal production is high in a society, then more advanced “clean coal” production methods might be adopted. If a nation is heavily involved in commercial fishing, then the amount of fish harvested might be reduced or the number of fish raised to replenish populations might be increased.

Some societies might attempt to conserve natural resources by reducing consumption. Canada and Australia are two examples. Both want to reduce the amount of water people are using to flush their toilets, but they are approaching this goal very differently. Australia wants to develop a tax law that will charge Australians for each flush. Canada has passed legislation to pay people a tax rebate to use smaller toilet tanks.

Would you like to comment about this or other consumption control measures? If so, you can start by responding to one of the topics below:

1) The Canadian flush tax might seem far fetched, but can you think of a consumption tax used in the United States designed to reduce the use of a product or service? How successful was the tax? What insight does this give you to a similar approach in reducing natural resource consumption?

2) Which do you think would be the most effective in changing flush behavior: charging someone to flush or paying them to flush less? Explain your answer. How can the principles and assumptions of your response be generalized to control other behavior such as drunk driving, crime, or smoking?

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One comment

  1. I think that it would be wiser to charge someone for flushing so that they would flush less. You can’t really pay someone off if that’s what they are going to do anyway.

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