Sunday, September 29, 2013

Use It, Not Lose It

In these difficult economic times we need to recreate the American dream not continue not continue government waste? Especially since Uncle Sam’s fiscal year ends tomorrow. This Sunday’s September 29th, Washington Post front page article,” Use it or Lose It, “was more than coincidental.  We cut essential social program to buy 71 new jet fighters costing almost $8 billion dollars  for what reason?

As more people are feeling economic stress and another government shut-down will further cost us billions of dollars we still foster federal spending insanity. How can we promote cost reduction efforts while in the month of September in the last three years 20% of the spending happens?  For example last September the government spent $45 billion in its last fiscal week.  

Back in 1981 as a recycling coordinator for the Nation’s Capital I saw a lot of stuff head south to the Lorton Landfill because “use it or lose it” promotes throwing out lots of good equipment and furniture.

From another perspective, numerous recent scientific studies are showing the recent rise in climate change has human origins. The Washington area not only produces more carbon dioxide than Sweden, Denmark and Finland but our government stimulates the most significant global loss of resources. Government must shift from this behavior of consuming more to understanding performance is measured by output over input.

The fed’s are the largest consumer of goods and services in the world producing a buying power yearly exceeding 25 European Union nations. Just look at one department protecting us. Contrast this with the fact we invest a fraction of one percent money on how we conserve resources. Wise economy and world security is all about the path of discovery around recovery.

There are no exact figures or comprehensive methods of determining of how much our region wastes. Each year Americans use, discard and recycle more than 17 billion tons of waste. This does not include how we create tens of thousands of incentives to waste. Improved feedback in how we can re-utilize our discards may stimulate a frontier of economic development. Developing market mechanisms to conserve is just one avenue to minimize our carbon footprint.

The good news is that more Washingtonians are recognizing that becoming more environmentally efficient improves our well-being. Also, as we prevent pollution, we also reward ourselves and profit our country. Saving our land, air and water has many implications besides just peace of mind for our future generations. Better managing and accounting for our nation’s eco-capital must become “tenor” not the “terror” of our time. Let's recover our nation's capital by saving things instead of losing them.