August 10, 2009

The logical conclusion of environmentalism

Last night on Red Eye, they were talking about a Brazilian public service announcement that was propounding of all things, peeing in the shower to conserve water. Environmentalism has officially jumped the shark (for many of us that happened long ago. Nevertheless, it's surely official now). In an apparent bid to conserve, the animated ad endorsed the habitual action to reduce water consumption. Sanitary considerations aside, messages being co-opted perhaps by a stupid public works department (it wasn't clear in the ad) also aside, the ad makes logical sense.

WAIT don't click away in disgust yet - I'm talking about the fact that the directions environmental has started heading is a logical extension of it's absurd roots. Follow me on this.

The modern environmental movement evolved in the 1970's and 1980's as an anti-nuclear power movement. Nuclear power was seen as bad in light of the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. But that even applied to nuclear power for peaceful purposes such as energy production. Nuclear power facilities development slowed, and thanks to Ronald Reagan, the arms race slowed to a crawl with the demise of the Soviet empire.

Environmentalism, crawling with socialists (and apparently Luddites who abhorred technology), morphed into a form of Gaia-worship that insisted that the environment is a fragile ecosystem that by our technological achievements we are on the verge of destroying. How self-important. We are like ants building an anthill on a 5 mile long driveway. In any case, the movement morphed into an anti-energy movement. No drilling for oil (in America at least), cars are bad, reduce your carbon footprint etc. And that suited both the green agenda and the socialist agenda.

That point about carbon footprints is where we start to unravel the only place where this line of thinking will ultimately lead. If our carbon footprint is bad, what about our water footprint? Ah, that's where peeing in the shower makes sense. But think of all of our other 'footprints' - iron, fluoride, oxygen, aluminum to name a few. Everything we do requires that we actually DO something. We do not have fur - we require clothing, which means we must harvest materials to create it. We need money to buy food and shelter, so we have to work. But we have to get to work which means we require transportation. Society is dependant on building things. Not just our society - socialist societies too.

Socialists see environmentalists as useful idiots. But the environmentalist agenda ultimately leads to people not producing or consuming man made material because everything we do leaves a footprint. Therefore it leads to no one working. Or doing much of anything. Ultimately it leads to humanity reverting to tribal hunters and gatherers, virtually doing nothing beyond surviving. Socialism discourages individual effort - if you do not see direct gains for your harder work effort than your neighbor, why work harder? It's not far from there to 'why work at all - I'll still eat because the system pays me'. In that sense, maybe the environmentalists see the socialists as the useful idiots. Socialism is a step towards tribalism.

Environmentalists are rabid. They have shown no indication that some level of human production is acceptable. If it is then who decides how much? And how do we get there? Those are not easy questions (or reasonable ones for that matter). Absent that cutoff though, we have to assume that mother earth trumps all in their world view, so no production would be possible.

But if production is a problem, what about our food consumption footprint? Our entire impact on the eco-system comes into question. Animals can kill and eat each other and plants. They can keep themselves warm. Seemingly there are those (and these and these, among others) who hold the view that we cannot.

In other words, people need to start dying. Never mind the fact that the reason the population has increased dramatically in recent history is because of advances in medicine to extend lifespan, advances in agriculture to feed more, advances in meteorology to predict impeding storm danger and a myriad of other advances. Because we have advanced, the world can indeed sustain more people. The fact is that in most of the modernized western world, population growth has practically ground to a halt already. The growth is occurring predominantly in less developed nations. The world they would have us return to, is the world that generates more humans. Unintended consequences indeed. Stop trying to plan the world and everyone else's lives - just live your own.

Apparently that is too much to ask.

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