An Eco Magazine I recommend is Emagazine, and when I read this article, it really hit home.
The Environmental Spending Gap;The Amount We Spend to Keep Our Air and Water Clean Says a Lot About Our Priorities By Sarah (Steve) Mosko
How much are you willing to pay for access to clean air and drinking water?
What’s a fair price to keep toxic chemicals out of the food supply, to ensure the future of ocean and freshwater fish stocks, to keep public parks open, and to stem the melting of the polar ice caps so our coastal cities remain above sea level and polar bears won’t go extinct?
Questions of this sort prompted me to investigate how much the federal government and my home state of California (and ultimately we taxpayers) actually spend on environmental protection. Turns out neither comes close to one thin dime on the dollar.
Federal outlay for environmental protection is 1%
Federal environmental spending, like defense spending, comes under discretionary spending which in 2009 amounted to $1.2 trillion or about one-third of the total $3.5 trillion federal outlay. Mandatory spending makes up the remaining two-thirds of the federal budget (nearly $2.3 trillion) and goes to hefty programs like Medicare, Social Security and interest on the national debt.
Discretionary spending is divided into two broad categories, national defense and non-national defense, with defense spending eating up 53% of all discretionary dollars in 2009. The government keeps tabs on federal environmental spending in a category called natural resources and environment (NRE) which totaled $35 billion or just 2.8% of discretionary spending and a meager 1% of total federal spending.
You can read the full story here