Chapter 1: Markets meet the environment in unexpected places
Thinking about the environment in the developing world conjures up images of deforestation and flooding, poaching and poverty, or polluted water and air. Much has been written about these difficult problems. This book takes a different approach by looking through the haze to spot places where local environmental entrepreneurs are finding innovative solutions. The answers involve establishing property rights and encour- aging market exchange. The following chapters include real world case studies of entrepreneurs working to trade beehives for water, contract with communities to conserve wildlife, entice ranchers to graze less sheep, encourage villagers to use terraced farming, virtually fence a marine fishery, and to empower indigenous groups to manage their forests more efficiently. As you will see throughout this book, with the drive to create wealth, entrepreneurs are capable of both improving environmental quality and local economies in some of the least expected places. The connection between wealth and health has long been understood in academic circles (Wildavsky 1980, Pritchett and Summers 1996). Evidence of this relationship can now be seen in mainstream outlets such as the Wall Street Journal’s annual “Index of Economic Freedom” and the World Bank’s “Doing Business Project.” In Switzerland, for example, incomes are very high and so is average life expectancy at 82 years. But in countries such as Somalia incomes are low, with life expectancy at only 51 years. More recently, the link between wealth and environmental quality has materialized.