When I was a young boy in the 50s, I remember how we would be driving down the road, and then my Dad would roll down the window and throw out a bag of trash with maybe the last remains of our hamburgers with the tomatoes and pickles I wouldn't eat.
I would look back from the back seat and see the bag hit the ground, roll along for a moment, and then rest on the side of the road. It seems like I remember seeing the bag explode once, with trash blowing all over the field, but I probably just made that up. I do remember being confused by it though. I could not throw trash into my bedroom or into our yard.
Why could we throw trash out of the car?
I don't know why we did it, surely we knew better.
Maybe it's because Moses didn't put it in the top ten. If he had room for one more, he might have added thou shalt not trash thy neighbors field.
As the 50s turned into the 60s, it was no longer acceptable to throw trash out of the car. Maybe it was because the sides of the roads were beginning to look like trash dumps. Soon, it was illegal and signs sprung up that said Littering is Unlawful.
In the early days of the industrial revolution, the cities in England were significantly polluted from coal smoke. As lung disease and morbitity increased, it became clear that, at the very least, smokestacks would need to be higher.
Even earlier in the 1300s, when England began to use coal instead of wood for heat, there were major air pollution problems. To clean up London's air, King Edward I, outlawed coal burning exclaiming, "…whosoever shall be found guilty of burning coal shall suffer the loss of his head."
Known today as "The London Fog," London experienced the worst air pollution disaster ever reported from December 5 to 8, 1952. With daily temperatures below average, fireplaces and industries supplied pollutants that combined with condensation in the air to form a dense fog. Concentrations of pollutants reached very high levels under these adverse conditions. The fog finally cleared away, but four thousand Londoners had perished.
In 1948, the United States experienced its first major air pollution catastrophe in Donora, Pennsylvania. Effluents from a number of industries, including a sulfuric acid plant, a steel mill, and a zinc production plant, became trapped in a valley by a temperature inversion and produced an un-breathable mixture of fog and pollution. Six-thousand suffered illnesses ranging from sore throats to nausea. There were 20 deaths in three days.
According to the World Health Organization, Global Warming killed 150,000 people in 2000 and the death toll could double again in the next 30 years if current trends are not reversed.
One heatwave killed 20,000 people in Europe alone this year, the WHO said.
Pollution should not be regulated.
It should be unlawful.
Littering is unlawful.
Imagine if other crimes were regulated and not made unlawful.
We could issue robbery credits to all the known thieves and robbers.
Those who were known to rob the most, would get the most credits.
We could initiate a cap and trade system.
If they do not need to rob their full allotment,
they can sell their robbery credits to someone
who needs to steal a little more this year.
And once again,
the miracle of the market is revealed.
Local authorities are thinking about regulating murder.