19 August 2011

Environmentalism is its own worst enemy

Reason | Shikha Dalmia | Get Ready for the Green Civil War

Consider the recent massacre of six golden eagles at California’s Tehachapi Mountains wind farm. Federal authorities are investigating the incident, but some enviros are upset that not all their brethren are more outraged over the dead birds—along with the 440,000 others that are shredded annually by all the “cuisinarts of the sky” around the country. [...]

The problem for the environmental movement is that, in contrast to its original conservationist roots reflected in the thinking of Aldo Leopold, it has decided to protect nature from humans rather than for humans.

The AGW movement sucks all the wind out the sails of the wider environmental movement. No good comes of this.

Funny how this kind of stuff never came up when I was being fed brainwashing episodes of Captain Planet.  There were no trade-offs between conflicting environmental goals there.  Of course, there were no trade-offs of any kind whatsoever in that universe.  I shouldn't be surprised, since the main characters got what they wanted literally by magic every single half hour.  Why bother with making choices when a goddess and a genie solve all your problems for you?

(When I am in less generous, more cynical moods I conclude the environmental movement has tossed out all other concerns to focus on AGW because many modern environmentalists do not care about the environment, they just want clubs to wields against capitalism, and AGW makes a great one.)

See also:
Think Progress | Matthew Yglesias | The Planet Is A Place For People To Live

It’s especially mistaken, I think, to try to look at children as a negative environmental externality. The beginning of wisdom here is to note that pollution isn’t “bad for the planet.” The planet is a gigantic roughly spherical chunk of rocks that can easily survive whatever level of greenhouse gas emissions or whatever else we care to pump into the atmosphere. The big picture ecological threat is a threat to human beings, and to the continued existence of ecological conditions that are conducive to human flourishing. Radical population reduction would sharply reduce the quantity of anthropogenic ecological impacts, but to what end? The goal needs to be to reconfigure human activity in order to make it sustainable over a longer time horizon. But sustained human flourishing requires both acceptable levels of ecological impact and also the continued production of new human beings.
Again, amen, especially to the title.

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