TANSTAAFL and Environmentalism

Wickersham's Conscience

Wind Turbine, Central Snake River Plain, Idaho

WC has written about TANSTAAFL before. The acronym stands for “There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch,” and is a reference to the bars and taverns that used to offer a “free lunch,” where, for the cost of two over-priced beers, you could have an over-salted, thirst-inducing lunch. The price of the lunch, of course, was hidden in the price of the beers.

With help from the late economist Milton Friedman, TANSTAAFL was more or less adopted into economics, when Friedman wrote a book with the same name. It was even popularized by the late Robert Heinlein in a science fiction novel.

The principle applies to the choices facing environmentalists, too. There is an environmental cost to every answer to many, if not all, environmental challenges.

Some examples are easier than others. Burning fossil fuels for energy is frying the planet…

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