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Marcin Branowski: Championing Market-Based Solutions for Environmental Issues Exposing Market-Based Solutions to New Audiences

Marcin Branowski has seen liberty from a variety of perspectives. First, growing up in post-communist Poland, then as a student at a liberal university in London, and now continuing his education in the United States.

He wants to empower people to look to market-based solutions in areas where the big government has traditionally been seen as the answer, especially environmental policy. 

“Growing up in post-communist Poland made me skeptical of entrusting everything to the government. I saw the overwhelming presence of bad governance riddled with corruption and cronyism which was at odds with my perception of freedom. 

“When I moved to the UK to attend the very left-leaning Queen Mary University of London, I began to even notice more. Attending a university like that forced me to think harder about the ideas of liberty as I found myself having to defend them but, the more I did this, the more I believed in the ideas.

“In August, I moved to the United States where I am completing my masters in public administration at NYU. Each of these has given me a different perspective on the importance of liberty.

“When I started studying economics, I realized that those principles can be applied to solve issues in other areas. For example, if you want everyone to have health care, you have to figure out the most efficient ways to allow people to provide that for themselves through free enterprise. 

“The problem is, society’s issues have been so occupied by big government solutions and ideas that people feel disempowered. They believe the only way that they can have an impact is if they can force the government to do something about it. 

“I decided to establish a liberty-based student group at university with a couple of friends. Soon after, we had this idea, ‘what if we unite all the societies in the UK that have a similar goal and work together?’ It turned out that’s exactly what SFL was doing. In the first year, we grew to more than 15 universities, which made us the largest youth-led environmentalist group in the UK.

“In 2019 an exchange student told me about SFL and invited me to attend LibertyCon in Madrid. That LibertyCon was the biggest one and the one I remember the most – it was also my first. I remember being very impressed with how many people were there, all of the great events, and the interesting and deep conversations I had. 

“The ideas of liberty have shown me that one can have a big impact on society while simultaneously being an individual. The issue I wanted to tackle is preserving our planet and I believe that humanity has a lot of reasons to align with preservation. With the power that markets have, the world is now more environmentally sustainable than it was 20 years ago while simultaneously becoming much richer. That proves these two things can coexist.

“Emissions data from developed countries shows how, in the process of developing, efficiency improves through innovation, leading to lower environmental impact. In the process of becoming more advanced, we are able to produce more products using fewer resources and adjust our processes to be less harmful.

“With friends from SFL, I co-founded the British Conservation Alliance. Last year, we released a book ‘Green Market Revolution’ which illustrated how a system based on free markets, innovation, property rights, and localized solutions is far more effective at tackling environmental problems than a top-down, one-size-fits-all regulatory approach. 

“In November, we held our inaugural Youth Environment Summit. It was a two-event that hosted more than 40 speakers. We had 250 people attend in person and online from five continents. We will definitely have more summits like this in the future.

“SFL is not only a liberty group. It’s also a youth leader and development group. If you want to also learn how to be a better person, better speaker, better event manager, a better leader, a better worker, a better communicator, whatever it is, SFL has resources for you.

“It provides the basis on how to organize, how to be better, how to be more effective, how to do things in the best way possible. Every day they do it better. I’m very proud that I had the opportunity to be a part of that for a few years and I’m very glad that I can continue to implement what I’ve learned.

“You can always read Rothbard and talk about philosophy. You can always read more. Instead of being on some of the SFL leadership trainings, I could have read Rothbard or Mises and I would learn more about their ideology, but I’m going to learn so much more being 30% less versed in an ideology, but 50 times more versed in how to talk about this to other people – and I’m going to have a bigger impact than just someone who read all the possible books. 

“That’s what makes SFL different.”