A few years ago, I wrote a paper for an essay contest being run by the Fraser Institute, a notoriously right wing think tank in Vancouver. The assignment was to write about a free market solution to an environmental problem, and I suggested that a firm could extract and sell the 450kg of copper leaching out from the Britannia Mine into Howe Sound every day. Because of heavy metal pollution from that source, there is a large marine dead zone just offshore, along the road between the two venues where the 2010 Olympics will be held.
Today, while sitting in my dentist’s waiting room, I read in Time that a company called EPCOR has taken on the project I suggested. I didn’t win the contest, some paper about tradable carbon emissions did, but it’s nice to see that the idea was viable enough to implement in some form. It may be more about public relations than profit – especially since the company is advertising its benevolence – but I am glad to hear that one of the many scourges afflicting that particular marine ecosystem is to be somewhat abated.