thought witnessed that if you don't pay for it, you don't care how it gets used. A small percentage of the population will always be conservationist minded, but largely, the human species only conserves out of necessity. We evolved to take in as many calories as possible when they were available in order to store energy for times when calories were not available; which is why our society has issues with storing an overabundance of calories. But food energy is not the only thing we waste, wasting natural resources also seems to be an evolutionary trait. Because of this, individuals must be forced to bear the burden of the resources they use. Let me explain why I'm venting...
In my town-home community of 150+ homes each home pays its own electrical and natural gas consumption, but the water is not individually metered. There is only 1 water meter for the whole community, and the total usage is divided equally among all 150 homes. I'm sure the home builders or the county thought that it would have been much too expensive to put individual water meters on each home, that or they were just too lazy to bother. Now, this would be a fine plan if all 150 homeowners were conservationists, but they're not.
My neighbor decided she was unhappy with the landscaper's choice of drought resistant bushes for her front parcel (only about 3' by 4') so she planted a whole jungle's worth of plants and flowers there. I was able to overlook this exercise in questionable taste with the knowledge that the plants and flowers would probably shrivel up and die in a few days because our homes face south and the blacktop on the road and brick in our entryways routinely raises the temperature in that area to over 100° F. After the first few days, it looked like my hopes and dreams were being fulfilled, but then my neighbor caught on to Mother Nature's shared loathing of her choice in landscaping and decided she would start watering her "garden".
The smart thing to do would be to get a hose and spend about 2 minutes standing over the landscaping and watering it, but no, that would be 2 minutes too long for her and it's not like she has to pay for the water. Instead, she sets the hose up on a sprinkler and sets it over the landscaping. I would be fine with this setup if she only watered it for a few minutes, but she waters it for hours. We arrived home from Father's Day brunch at 12:30 PM, and at 3 PM the plants were still being watered. She waters the road more than the plants.
And this is the problem when individuals don't have to pay the price of their consumption. If she did have to pay her own water bill, she might be surprised how much it was costing her to to leave the sprinkler on for 2+ hours on a 12 sq. ft. parcel of land. If it were me, I would worry what my neighbors would think about the fact that I was so blatantly wasting a resource that we all pay for, but as they say, ignorance is bliss. And because she doesn't have her own meter, she can remain ignorant.
The free market can't always correctly manage natural resources. If our community had control of the HOA, I'm sure we could set a rule about not watering your plants over a set period of time, but since there are a few more homes for sale in the community, the home builder still has control over the HOA and since they don't pay the water bill, they don't care how it gets used!
This is why I'm a fan of government regulations in favor of conserving natural resources! There should be a law that states that all buildings must be individually metered so each building owner can see and pay the price for their own consumption. Only then will they be able to take the steps necessary to reduce it! Of course rich people could still waste natural resources, but at least they couldn't claim ignorance while they were doing it.
But enough of my ranting. What do you think about government regulations in favor of conserving natural resources? Where do we draw the line?