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those folks like themselves whom the “free market” has made rich enough to care about the environment. Keeps out the riff-raff, you see, and maintains the commercially useful delusion that the “environment” is something you drive to in your Range Rover. That was the tone of much of the discussion, relieved by occasional doses of un-Perkian sanity. Valerie Naylor, for example, spokeswoman for Big Bend National Park, delivered a spirited defense of maintaining the common natural heritage of the American peoplea pyrrhic gesture, under the circumstances. Ken Kramer of the Sierra Club argued that defining the problem of endangered species solely in economic terms was both wrong and self-defeating. And, although it fell on mostly deaf ears, the highlight of the weekend was the Saturday afternoon presentation by Austin environmental attorney Bill Bunch, who has long fought the good fight against the degradation of Austin’s land and water supply by the corporate privateers who like to masquerade as defenders of the sacred “free market.” In fact, Bunch pointed out, the corporations and their defenders have no interest in “free and efficient markets.” They strongly prefer the unregulated profits only made possible and sustained by massive public subsidies. Austin, Bunch said, is a case in point; private interests have repeatedly circumvented the public will by ruthlessly promoting, commercially and politically, uncontrolled development into environmentally sensitive areas. Bunch then laid hundred million dollars in taxpayer subsidiesfrom highway funds to infrastructure to school buildings to savings and loan bailouts which underwrote the “private” Barton Creek Resort, Country Club, golf courses, and upscale residential development where we all sat, mulling the ineffable virtues of the free market. The manicured sylvan retreat, heavily taxpayer-subsidized, also happens to be located in Austin’s most sensitive and rapidly degrading ecosystem, the Barton Creek recharge zone for the area’s corner of the Edwards Aquifer. The beneficiaries of this taxpayer largesse included such public-minded free-marketeers as Ben Barnes, John Connally, Jim Bob Moffett, and Freeport-McMoRan. “It doesn’t cost us more to save the environment,” summarized Bunch. “We spend enormous funds subsidizing the destruction of the environment.” As Bunch concluded his remarks, there was a moment of reflective silence, but it didn’t last. R.L. Smith \(of the Competitive Enterattack on subsidies was essentially libertarian, and he should thereTHE CORPORATIONS AND THEIR DEFENDERS HAVE NO INTEREST IN “FREE AND EFFICIENT MARKETS.” THEY STRONGLY PREFER THE UNREGULATED PROFITS ONLY MADE POSSIBLE AND SUSTAINED BY MASSIVE PUBLIC SUBSIDIES. via 74.-4.11700. -gi a dw zi k t ucatio states rio tion in grades th ro ugl Jonathan Adler of the COmpetitiVe prise Institute complain that environmental education is “taking advantage of students’ natural curiosity about the world and transforming them into activists. Meanwhile, cutbacks in education are forcing schools to rely more and more on free teaching materials supplied by corporations, many with poor environmental records. “Consumers or Citizens,” a report from the Center for Commercial-Free U.S. kidsexposed to an average of 40,000 TV commercials a year at home- now face commercials in the classroom: Shell Oil Company provides a free video for schools called “Fueling America’s Future” that teaches: “It takes gasoline to ar noms the 34 rn ‘the trie comp ills into the country’s water, air and land each year, and encourages children to “fashion birdfeeders out of both plastic and paperboard milk containers.” Polystyrene Packaging Council’s “Plastics and the Environment Sourcebook” urges children to plan a “plastics treasure hunt to reinforce the diversity of plastics.” American Plastics Council publishes “Plastics in Our World,” a slick K-12 kit that downplays plastic’s solid waste problem by promoting incineration of plastic \(called “white lease useful energy.” The kit makes no ties y, m young students that, while “scientists have known for years how to deal with nuclear ‘leftovers,'” Congress stubbornly refused to authorize a nuclear dump until 1982. The teaching aid recommends using “high radioactivity to ‘sterilize’ sewage sludgeturning waste into a benefit from our silent servant, the atom.” Marianne Manilov and Tamara . Schwarz Consumers or Citizens is available for $7 from UNPLUG, 360 Grand Ave., No. 385, ARO 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER FEBRUARY 28, 1997 .0#00.1en.ftse