The environmental movement has brought some good things. In particular, policymakers are much more prone (in some cases forced to) think about environmental costs. Market failures with respect to pollution have been profound in the past and continue to be so. There is a clear role for government to play in protecting the environment.
My wish for this Earth Day is for one thing: balance. If I had been asked 50 years ago what the greatest need was with respect to the environment, I would have said (had I been alive) that we need mechanisms to internalize environmental costs. A lot of those mechanisms are in now in place, though we need a much greater reliance on market-based approaches grounded in property rights, and we are not anywhere near an optimum, I think.
But today, the greatest threat is radicalism among environmentalists. The radicals are, principally, not those who love the earth, but those who hate capitalism. They are discredited Marxists taking cover amongst true environmentalists because there is nowhere else for them to go.
So if I were a candle-lighter, I would light a candle for those who are actually trying to advance the cause of humanity (much of which is still—because of lack of economic growth— in a dreadful state) by promoting the balanced, sustainable development of the earth for all its peoples.