The biggest threat to government, business, and household budgets is waste
: money that dribbles away with nothing to show for it.
The biggest threat to the environment is waste
: goods disposed of prematurely, and energy consumed with nothing to show for it.
But goods cost money, and energy costs money. Wasted energy is wasted money. We could say, then, that environmental waste is a cause of economic waste
. This is common sense: leaving the lights on when nobody's home shows up in the electric bill, and nobody benefits.
The more cost-conscious you are, the more environmentally-friendly you'll be, even if the environment is no concern to you. And if you are a committed environmentalist, you'll find you'll have more money in your bank account, even if money is no concern to you. "Reuse, recycle" is just good business sense.
And this suggests that government is not needed to "solve" many of our environmental problems. Regardless of what governments and even businesses do, home-owners and other consumers help themselves by helping the environment.
As an example, consider this article: 20 Simple Tips for Lowering Your Home's Carbon Footprint
. This was posted at a website about Spain's real estate market - not the first place you'll look for "tree-huggers" or "environmentalist wackos." As the title suggests, these tips will cut down on energy use, but they also save money. Some tips are obvious, some are easy, and some may not apply to your situation. But the article is worth a look because, if all the tips are applied, "you can reduce CO2 emissions by 40 metric tons per year, enough to entirely offset the global warming effects of you and another person." You could also save up to $2000.
Doing good and doing well go hand in hand. The natural incentives of the free market encourage environmentalism, whereas top-down government solutions cause waste. We can downsize DC and save the environment at the same time.