In an astute and highly nuanced response to that question, Jared Diamond of UCLA, one of the most knowledgeable scientists and writers in this country, says that we need to get over the misimpression that American business cares only about immediate profits, and we should reward companies that work to keep the planet healthy.
Diamond admits to his own foibles in the article. After serving on two environmental boards, alongside a number of business executives, he got a chance to assess his ideas about business. What's illuminating is his discussion of three organizations that are the bane of most environmentalists: Wal-Mart, Coca Cola and Chevron. He picked the right three to challenge some of the more deeply held notions.
In a previous post, I pointed out how audiences often fail to distinguish between balance and proportion. Diamond handles that issue with finesse.
I'd like to paste this article on some foreheads on both sides of the camp with iron glue. I'm referring, of course, to dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist and the anti-environmentalists. I intend to double check the opinion writers at the Wall Street Journal all next week to see how they deal with Diamond's paean. You can read the NYTimes Op-Ed by Diamond here.