PERC Enviropreneur alum Dave Wager is helping to restore forests overstocked with trees and making a business by using the wood to make beautiful Tree Ring Pens.
Brett Howell, a former PERC Enviropreneur, is exploring how to apply market-based approaches to making coral reef restoration financially sustainable.
Endangered African wildlife are conserved on Texas ranches that have switched from money-losing livestock to profitable rare and endangered species.
Maasai are incresaing their incomes by using a portion of their grazing land for wildlife viewing by tourists.
This video showcases PERC Enviropreneur Institute alum Fletcher Harper, his organization GreenFaith, and the innovative ways in which religion, ecology, and economics can be combined to forge creative environmental solutions.
The 2013 class of Enviropreneurs™ is nearly set, and this one is shaping up to be the most unique group we have ever had.
In response to the Miami Herald
Kate Fitzpatrick is a PERC enviropreneur and program manager at the Deschutes River Conservancy developing market-based strategies for water conservation.
Jeremy Gingerich, ranch manager of Banded Peak Ranch, discusses his experience at PERC's Enviropreneur Institute and how creative conservation strategies are protecting open landscapes in the west.
Enviropreneurs like Logan Yonavjak are connecting private, for-profit incentives to environmental outcomes by creating longer-term financing opportunities for the land conservation community.
Former fellows talk about their experience in PERC's Enviropreneur Institute in 2009.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the African lion as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. But will it actually help the king of beasts?
Summer Rayne Oakes, 2010 PERC Enviropreneur Institue alum and CEO of Source4Style, talks about her experience at the Enviropreneur Institute.
As PERC's 2012 Enviropreneur Institute (PEI) culminates, we sit down with enviropreneur Jeremy Gingerich to discuss his vision of combining economic and ecological sustainability on western landscapes. Check out PEI and how to apply for next year under Fellowships.
By the employment of dogs, farmers and conservationists are reducing both livestock lost to predation and cheetahs lost to predator control.
John Batchelor interviews Kurt Schnier about PERC’s Enviropreneur Institute. He explains how the value of goods is reflected in prices, and how markets can improve environmental amenities.
John Batchelor stops in Bozeman, Montana to speak with Terry Anderson about how to enhance the value of environmental amenities. Anderson highlights the role that environmental entrepreneurs take to improve environmental outcomes as well as contrasts local versus federal land management.
A lot has been written about PERC’s Enviropreneur Institute lately – and for good reason.
The application window for the 2012 Enviropreneur Institute is now open. This annual, two-week program for environmental professionals will be held in Bozeman, Montana, from June 24 - July 6.
Last month, the X-Prize Foundation announced the winners of the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup Challenge
by Brett Howell, 2011 PERC Enviropreneur Institute alum I have just returned from a 10-day trip to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico where I visited Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun. When I planned the SCUBA trip, I expected it be a relaxing vacation. However, ever since starting to work on market-based solutions to invasive lionfish, I just could not help but turn a “vacation” into a hands-on research project.Unfortunately, invasive lionfish have become a prevalent species in Cozumel. According to my divemaster, who works for the company Dive Paradise, local dive operators have bonded together informally to begin addressing the lionfish invasion. Divemasters carry simple spear systems with them on each dive. When a lionfish is spotted, it is killed. Of the 25-30 dives I completed, lionfish were seen on about 10 of the dives, only in the shallower reef areas (45-60 feet). After it is speared, a lionfish’s spines are cut off and the fish is fed to eels or other fish. “Tourists” are not supposed to shoot the lionfish, for fear of someone being stung in the process, but our divemaster let one of the people on our boat, Eric, try his hand at the lionfish management process. According to Eric, the success of a shot really relies on the equipment being used. One spear he tried had a guidance mechanism to shoot the spear straight, whereas the other did not. Of the lionfish Eric went after, he successfully killed about half of them.One afternoon our divemaster wanted the lionfish for dinner, so he kept approximately five of them for later feasting. While I was impressed with his interest in eating the fish, despite potential ciguatera concerns (a foodborne illness from eating certain reef fishes), I was very disappointed when he would not kill a lionfish that I found. His response was that he knew that the lionfish would be there the next time he went to the dive site, and he wanted the fish to get a little bigger so there was more meat for him to eat. This is part of the challenge with trying to get people to target lionfish; we do not want people to wait to harvest invasive lionfish in the hope that they will get bigger. The process of a lionfish growing means that it has eaten more of the critical reef species that we are trying to protect.By far the most creative capture of a lionfish was a young lionfish that I found while on a night dive. Divemasters do not usually carry spears at night, so we ended up collecting the fish using one glove, a dive knife, and a plastic bag. The divemaster did the collecting. After killing the lionfish, he attempted to find an eel to feed it to, something he was unsuccessful in doing before we had to surface due to low air.
by Andrew Balthrop, a PhD student in economics at Georgia State University and 2011 PERC Graduate Fellow.
Lynne Kiesling at Knowledge Problem has an interesting post that might be of interest to enviropreneurs.
PERC welcomed sixteen conservationists from around the world for its 11th annual Enviropreneur Institute, June 26 through July 8, 2011. The program works with environmental entrepreneurs who seek a better understanding of how business and economic principles can be applied to environmental problems. For two weeks, participants have the opportunity to interact with leading experts in the field of free market environmentalism, including those who have researched and applied markets and property rights in their environmental work.Dave Wager attended this year's Enviropreneur Institute in Bozeman, MT. He is the owner, artisan, and forester for Tree Ring Pens, LLC. Prior to launching Tree Ring Pens, Dave spent ten years conducting Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) endorsed certification assessments on more than 100 forest management operations covering over 25 million acres of forestland across 16 countries.Q: What are “Tree Ring Pens” and where does the wood supply come from?A: Tree Ring Pens are fine writing instruments crafted from dated tree ring cores. Each pen includes the full chronology (first through last annual ring) of a tree’s life. Through these annual growth rings, each pen shows 100+ years of natural history. As children we learned we could figure out how old a tree was by counting its rings. To foresters and scientists tree rings serve as an encyclopedia of past forest and climate conditions, providing information on tree growth rates, climate patterns, forest fire history, and many other ecological topics. The Tree Ring Pen was created to share this unique resource through a commonly-used object. The wood for Tree Ring Pens comes from forest restoration projects in western Montana—specifically projects that aim to restore old growth forests.Q: How did you come up with the idea for the Tree Ring Pen and how does it relate to forest restoration?A: My idea for the Tree Ring Pen was born more than a decade ago while conducting dendrochronology (tree ring) research as part of my master’s degree. People seemed fascinated by the information and history imbedded in tree ring cores, and I had been thinking of ways to share tree rings in a wood product. One evening, while working in a dendrochronology lab, it dawned on me that tree rings could be displayed in a wooden pen. The idea for Tree Ring Pens sat on a back burner until I discovered an opportunity to wed it with the need to thin overstocked forests in the western U.S. As a result of nearly 100 years of fire suppression, some forests, including rare old growth stands, are unnaturally dense, and are more susceptible to fires and insect/disease mortality. Without restoration treatments, old-growth forests in dry regions of the West are at considerable risk. Removing the encroaching conifers through forest thinning is needed to restore and help protect remaining old growth forests.Q: Does the purchase of a Tree Ring Pen contribute to future forest restoration projects?Dave Wager in actionA: Tree Ring Pens are crafted out of small understory trees that are adding unnatural stress to old growth trees. Thinning out the small diameter trees improves the resiliency of the old growth stands. The aim is to direct Tree Ring Pen restoration efforts at small patches of old growth that are being ignored because they lack the economies of scale that make restoration thinning economically viable. A significant portion of the remnant old growth forests are in remote locations, steep terrain, and/or small isolated patches. Remnant old growth stands exist today, in part, because they were too inaccessible or too steep to be logged economically when widespread logging of old growth forests occurred. Ironically, the same cost challenges that explain their existence also serve as an impediment to their conservation. By crafting a fine product that displays tree ring history, the low value of the small diameter trees can be greatly enhanced to provide the necessary economic incentive to accomplish restoration. Additionally, Tree Ring Pens LLC is donating 5 percent of the purchase price of the sale of each pen to organizations working on forest conservation and restoration.
Brett Howell is attending PERC's Enviropreneur Institute program taking place in the Bozeman, Montana area from June 25th to July 8th. Below we are posting some time-delayed blogs that Brett wrote while at Ted Turner’s remote Flying D Ranch. In addition to reading Brett’s blogs, follow his tweets @BrettWHowell and @gaiaendeavors.Ted Turner’s Flying D Ranch and Wolf ConservationI’m sitting by a stream at Ted Turner’s Flying D Ranch as I ponder my first experiences with the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) Enviropreneur Institute (known as PEI). I’ve been in Montana since Sunday, June 25th for PEI. We have an incredibly diverse group from across the US, Israel, the Galapagos, and South Africa. Each of us was selected through a highly competitive application process so that we could gain hands-on training in free-market environmentalism (FME). PERC’s version of FME is “dedicated to improving environmental quality through property rights and markets,” focusing on the creation of property rights to make markets work so that entrepreneurs can step in to solve environmental challenges.On Monday, June 27th, we drove approximately 45 minutes from Bozeman to The Flying D Ranch, a 116,000 acre property that Ted Turner purchased 20 years ago. We are staying in rustic cabins alongside a small creek. From here we can see snow-covered peaks, beautiful green rolling hills, and perhaps most stunning, thousands of buffalo (also called bison).This morning we heard from Danny Johnson, the Flying D’s ranch manger. I now know more about bison farming than I ever thought possible. Ted Turner, a name originally synonymous with CNN, is well known in Montana and throughout the US for his bison herds. He owns more than 54,000 head of bison throughout the US, approximately 5,600 of which are somewhere on the ranch where I’m currently sitting. Bison meat prices dropped in the mid 90s. To help create a market and drive demand, Ted’s Montana Grill was created to help introduce people to bison meat and provide a distribution channel through which his Turner’s meat could be sold.Along with being a media entrepreneur and rancher, Turner is a committed conservationist. He controls more land holdings than the total size of Yellowstone National Park, and he has committed to putting conservation easements on every property he owns so that the natural state can be protected in perpetuity. Turner also supports a pack of 25 wolves (18 adults, 7 pups) that moved onto Flying D Ranch recently despite significant impacts on ranch operations. Turner’s decision to maintain wolves on his property is in sharp contrast to the wolf debate raging on public lands where farmers, hunters, environmentalists, and the park service, among others, are deliberating about the predators’ future in Montana.The decision to allow wolves on the property has a clear impact on Flying D’s bottom line. For example, approximately 30 bison have been killed by wolves so far this year at Flying D Ranch, despite the fact that the wolves primarily feast on elk. Each bull bison sells for approximately $2,300. Elk hunting costs $14,500 for four and half days on Flying D Ranch. Given wolf impact on elk populations, the number of permitted elk hunters is being reduced to 24 from 30 for the upcoming season. Flying D has also hired a full-time wolf biologist to keep an eye on the pack.The experience at Flying D Ranch has been an incredible opportunity to get out of the city and really connect with fellow PEI participants and see a model of FME at work. Our discussions are wide-ranging and truly inspiring!Short Insights and Quotes from the first three days of PEI There is no silver bullet yet for why biodiversity is important to markets Property rights can help you create markets vs. moral persuasion If you put a price on something, at what point are social norms holding us back from a market? “But for analysis” – where would people be today, but for an incident that created the harm Do fish have rights (e.g. under the US Endangered Species Act)? Is a product that accounts for the cost of production externalities (e.g. polluting a stream) really a luxury good vs. the same product that is priced to ignore such externality costs? “Sustainability is risk management” Wildlife Tour on Flying D RanchThe PEI Fellows woke up at 4:45am on Wednesday, June 29th, for an early morning tour of the Flying D Ranch. In three hours we had the incredible opportunity to see bear, moose, bald eagle, golden eagle, elk, white tail deer, coyote, beaver, and of course, farmed buffalo. At almost three times the size of my current home, the District of Columbia, the 116,000 acre ranch is a vast expanse that we barely began to explore on our drive.
No politics. No advocacy. Just boots-on-the-ground work.
Once again California is threatening to close state parks.
Last week I joined Andy Nash on InsideAcademia.tv for a short discussion on "Sus
PERC enviropreneur alum Chris Corbin is featured at New West today for his water market consulting work with
Cross-posted at Grist.A recent post on Grist attempted to dismantle the intellectual foundations of free market environmentalism—the application of markets and property rights to solve environmental problems. But far from toppling a burgeoning movement within modern environmentalism, it succeeded only in misrepresenting the subject.To recap: Clark Williams-Derry claimed that while free market environmentalism may be effective in some areas of the environment (e.g., fisheries management), its reliance upon unrealistic assumptions about the real world largely relegates it to useless intellectual theorizing. In particular, the Coase theorem—an important component of market-based environmentalism named for Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase—amounts to “a quirky but not particularly relevant bit of theoretical math.”While there is certainly much more to free market environmentalism than the work of Coase (see Terry Anderson and Donald Leal’s book Free Market Environmentalism for more details), I focus here mostly on the misinformed critique of Coase that has been used to discredit free market environmentalism.So, who is Coase, what is his theorem, and what does it have to do with free market environmentalism?
Today, the great economist and Nobel laureate Ronald Coase will celebrate his 100th birthday. Coase’s work has revolutionized the way economists view resource conflicts.
Paul Schwennesen recently appeared on Fox Business to discuss food safety. Paul offers more comments on the issue below.We all want safe food. Question is, how do we get it? “There oughta be a law,” seems to be the generally conceived approach, as evidenced by recent passage of the now-famous food safety bill. A tidy and altogether comforting solution: simply slay the beast of dangerous food with the bludgeon of enlightened bureaucracy. But for the food advocates who support this kind of top-down solution, beware. The kind of government meddling that created cheap-at-any-cost is now about to do the same for “safe” food.But isn’t food safety a pressing concern, a public health problem we can’t afford to fool around with? The problem is, the problem isn’t. Emotional rants that “thousands die every year!” do not help us grapple with the scope or magnitude of this alleged threat. Let’s try some perspective: according to the Centers for Disease Control, the estimated number of deaths caused by food borne illness numbers around five thousand a year. Sounds pretty bad, eh? Time to call in the Salmonella SWAT team? Before you do, consider that the same number of people die by intentionally strangling themselves each year. Or that the same number of people die from Alzheimer’s in California alone each year. Or that four times that number die each year accidentally falling off of things. Moreover, 70% of food borne illnesses result from poor food handling procedures during preparation. Unless you’re also on a crusade to flatten everything or cure Alzheimer’s, I’d think twice about ceding greater authority of our food system to centralized management.True to form, Congress has blithely offered its professional problem-solving services to rid us of the menace of deadly food. And, true to form, it’s about to embark on another unarmed expedition into the tortuous territory of unintended consequences.
by P.J. Hill and Shawn Regan
by Holly Fretwell
Paul Schwennesen appeared on the Fox Business Network yesterday to discuss how food regulations harm local producers and favor large conglomerates.
In the fall edition of PERC Reports out this week, James Salzman, professor of law and environmental policy at Duke University, provides an overview of ecosys
Pens from old-growth forests preserve the forest as well as its history.
Creating a marketplace for fashion designers to use eco-friendly materials
A look back on the PERC Enviropreneur Institute from the retiring director
A savvy new breed of capitalist is using incentives such as mitigation credits to protect critical habitat and earn profits.
Enviropreneur Brett Howell is developing a market for coral reef restoration off of Florida's coast.
An enviropreneur uses water rights markets to keep water instream
Luddites can thwart even the best enviropreneurs; they see solutions as problems.
Swiss company donates water purification systems in Kenya earns carbon credits in return, and makes a profit.