Montana Ethic Project: Toward free market environmentalism

Free market

Joey and Libby Early

Terry Anderson, director of the Property & Environment Research Center, talks about free market environmentalism.

This is the 30th chapter of the 32-part video series “The Montana Ethic Project.” This chapter features Terry Anderson, former executive director of the Property & Environment Research Center, talking about free market environmentalism. You can watch the whole video below. Here is an edited transcript of how it begins:

“I grew up in Bridger, Montana, a little town south of Billings, where my passion was hunting, fishing, hiking, and skiing up at Red Lodge Mountain at the time. I used to spend a good deal around Cooke City when it wasn’t wilderness area with my dad in an old Willy’s jeep, driving in to the lakes to fish when the snow would melt off in the early summer.

“I think it was those experiences that gave me my love of the environment, and love of what all of wholive in Montana care so much about: Big Sky Country.”

Here is another, edited excerpt from Anderson’s presentation:

“Today people from all kinds of environmental groups are using markets. Everyone knows about The Nature Conservancy, a great organization. Here in Montana we have the Montana Land Trust, just a perfect example of people using private property rights and markets to preserve agriculture and our agricultural heritage.

“That concept though, to a lot of Montanans, doesn’t sit very well. The notion that we should have to pay for the environment is almost antithetical to the way people in Montana think. And I think, therein, is an important part of what I think has to change in the psyche of Montanans. I grew up, as I said, in a little town where I could take my shotgun when I was 12 years old and walk out the front door and in a few hundred yards be hunting. I knew everybody. My dad knew the landowners. I knew them. I knew you didn’t go hunt on old lady Jones’s place or she’d kick you off. I knew that if I hunted the land I had to take care of it.

“But we’ve seen big changes since the days when I was 12. And those changes brought a lot of pressures on our resources. Not just pressures to mine, not just pressures to cut trees or to grow crops. But pressures from those of us who compete to get to the Yellowstone Park campground first in July, those of us who compete to get to the best fishing streams or best hunting grounds, those of us who compete for the best camping sites in the wilderness. All these are examples of changes that put pressure on our Big Sky, on our resources that create the amenities that we all know and love.”

PERC_Logo_MontanaEthicPERC—the Property & Environment Research Center—is a proud sponsor of the Montana Ethic Project. To learn how PERC’s ideas can help us honor one another’s rights to land, water, and wildlife,visit

First week: Project introduction.

Second week: Richard Drake on “Terrorism and the Consolation of History.”

Third week: Mike Gear on “The Value of Athletics.”

Fourth week: Franke Wilmer on “Gender Equity.”

Fifth week: Gordon Brittan on “The Founding Fathers.”

Sixth week: Jim Posewitz on “Montana Sportsmen and the Hunter’s Ethic.”

Seventh week: The Rev. Jessica Crist on “Religion and Politics: Can They Co-exist?”

Eighth week: Chuck Tooley on “The Montana Character.”

Ninth week: Steve Bullock on “Citizens United v. Montana.”

10th week: Carol Williams on “The Imperative for Female Government Participation.”

11th week: Bob Rowe on Technological Development.”

12th weekGeorge Metcalfe on “Economic Development in Africa and Its Relationship to Montana.”

13th weekBruce Smith on “Montana’s Food Economy.”

14th week: Peggy Beltrone on “Montana Wind Energy—Business and Politics.”

15th week: Mark Solon on “Creating an Intermountain West Startup Economy.”

16th week: Bill Yellowtail on “Futuring and Native Leadership.”

17th week: Judy Martz on “Trust in the Lord and He Will Direct Your Path.”

18th week: Bob Brown on “Teddy Roosevelt’s Shadow in Montana’s Big Sky.”

19th week: Gordon Belcourt on “A Montana Native Perspective.”

20th week: Dorothy Eck on “The Montana Constitution and the Right to Know.”

21st week: Pat Barkey on “The Montana Wage Disparity.”

22nd week: Thomas Power on “Valuing Montana: An Economist’s Observations.”

23rd week: Larry Simkins on “The Culture of Safety.”

24th week: James Shanley on “Education Reform.”

25th week: Greg Gianforte on “High Tech in Montana.”

26th week: Jakki Mohr on “The Corporate Model for the 21st Century.”

27th week: Timothy James Lecain on “An Ethical Nature?”

28th week: Steve Running on “Montana Climate Change.”

29th week: Jamie Doggett on “The Role of the Humanities in Functional Communities.”

30th week: Bob Quinn on “Is it Time for GM Wheat?”

Next week: Ilse Mari-Lee on “Music: An Integral Part in the Lives of Montanans.”

Leave a Reply