This node is part of the 13 challenges for the 13th generation.

The ecological systems on which we depend for survival are being destroyed and we’re financing their destruction.

Require federally funded programs to meet an environmental sustainability test, ensuring that tax dollars won’t subsidize pollution and destruction of our natural resource base or encourage environmentally unsustainable development.

While some government policies discourage degradation of the environment, others actually pay people to keep doing it. The Clinton administration has made progress in protecting and restoring the environment. But overall, the United States pursues a pattern of development that is environmentally unsustainable.

We can’t keep dumping toxic wastes, contaminating our groundwater, using up our non-renewable resources, destroying the ozone layer, and exterminating other species faster than we can name them. Eventually, someone’s going to have to pay for today’s reckless environmental destruction.

Some interests want us to think that environmental protection costs too much. They want us to believe that a degraded environment won’t cost us anything. But the fact is, our tax dollars are used to clean up their toxic messes and subsidize their destructive practices. Worse, we’re leaving an environmental debt. Present and future generations will pay not only with their dollars but with their health, standard of living, and quality of life.

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