"It is precisely in the countries where markets are relatively free, and where private enterprise is allowed to pursue profits, that we have seen the greatest gains in environmental quality over the past half century. The best examples of this are two decidedly capitalist countries, Canada and the United States. On almost all measures, Canadians currently experience significantly better air quality than at any other time since continuous monitoring of air quality began in the 1970s. Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, for instance, have decreased sharply. Concentrations of carbon monoxide, a potent toxic emission, have decreased everywhere in Canada. And it’s not simply air quality that has improved. As previous reports have documented, water quality in Canada is generally quite good, and forests are no longer harvested beyond levels that are considered environmentally protective. More and more waste water is subject to high levels of treatment before being released to the environment, more solid waste is being diverted to recycling, soil quality has improved, and the size of protected areas has increased over recent decades. The United States has seen similar (if not greater) improvements in environmental protection. A 2005 report published by the U.S. Department of State summarized 30 years of environmental progress thus: “During this time, the U.S. economy grew by 187 per cent, population grew by 39 percent, and energy consumption increased by 47 per cent, yet air pollution decreased by 48 percent. In 2002, 94 per cent of Americans were served by community water systems that met all health-based standards, up from 79 per cent of the population in 1993.” And improvements continue. As of 2013, according to the EPA, ambient concentrations of carbon monoxide decreased by 84 per cent of their 1980 levels; ozone had fallen by 33 per cent; ambient lead by 92 per cent, and sulfur dioxide by 81 per cent over the same time span."Pope Francis should make his point by telling the world: "Search out lands where smog is beaten back and sewage kept from streams. Such emulate".
If you click on the "lift millions out of poverty" link above, you'll find Michael Totten's article on the miracle turnaround in Vietnam, a sample herewith:
"State subsidies were abolished. Private businesses were allowed to operate again. Businessmen, investors, and employees could keep their profits and wages. Farmers could sell their produce on the open market and keep the proceeds instead of giving them up to the state. The results were spectacular. It took some time for a middle class to emerge, but from 1993 to 2004, the percentage of Vietnamese living in poverty dropped from 60 percent to 20 percent. Before Doi Moi, the command economy contracted, and inflation topped out at over 700 percent; it would eventually shrink to single digits. After years of chronic rice shortages, Vietnam became the world’s second-largest exporter of rice."