Monday, November 10, 2008

My Type of Environmentalism

I am for limiting deforestation, protecting endangered species, and recycling. I am for clean air from toxic and harmful chemicals. I am for clean water and clean oceans. I am for double blind scientific funding so researchers do not know if the hippies or the oil men are funding a project. I am for the unity of people who love nature which includes hunters, sportsmen, tree huggers, lovers of Gaia, snowmobilers, and people who just love to spend time outside. I love nuclear, wind and solar where applicable & possible at a reasonable cost. I understand that coal and oil have their problems, but that they have a place until we can harness energy from cleaner sources and better store & manage those sources. I believe in research and development of the best ways to live in ecosystems and harness energy as science has brought us out of the Dark Ages and will continue to lead us forward.

I am against the religion known as environmentalism. I am against mixing science with politics. I am against people from California wanting to cap the "carbon" emissions of poor countries who hope to bring millions out of poverty. Chicago used to be called the "Black City" because they burnt so much coal fueling the city. Should we deny poor Indians and Chinese the joy of electricity? I dislike rich celebrities telling poor people to not drive their pick up trucks as they fly their private planes from convention to convention. I dislike retired politicians, who lose elections that they should have won if they had not been stiff as a board, hanneling their repressed energies and need for attention into wagging their fingers at people and telling them to watch their carbon footprint while they use more energy annually than a thousand poor Indonesians.

I like to tell the story of the greatest environmentalist I know who has no clue he is an environmentalist. My dad is an accidental environmentalist. The more I look back on stupid things my dad forced me to help him with through 22 years of living together, the more I find hidden enviro-friendly things. My dad has many faults, but he is a shining star when it comes to the environment. He's recycled in our town for 18 years. He uses recycled paper to wipe his ass. He uses everything until it is worn out completely, including keeping cars on the road with regular maintenance for 15+ years. He and I installed those foam insulators in the toilet tanks in our home to use .5 fewer gallons each flush. He is a hawk when it comes to the thermostat and oil usage. Most importantly to those carbon footprint folks, he's been part of a carpool for 20+ years and has driven the car pool of 4 (sometimes 5) guys for 15. For the global warming doomsters, that's removing 3 "commuters" worth of CO2 particles for over 20 years. This is also with older cars in the late 80s that were not as clean as today's cars.

Why did he do all of this? Each thing listed above has a common theme: easy money. Each thing is a positive economic gain for him or his family. Add to it accessibility. He didn't have to go far out of his way to do these changes. They were easier to enact because the market was there to provide options (cheaper TP, lower water bill fee, paying carpool customers). I am all for using the carrot when dealing with environmental problems because I think the stick does not work and can lead to worse economic and living standards damage. After all, didn't we force the world to give up cheap coolants and CFCs to keep food from spoiling because the ozone layer was going to burn away if we used them another 20 years? Didn't they tell my parents we'd run out of space for our garbage and were entering a new ice age? Isn't there always some boogeyman which the enviro-doomers use to scare us?

No comments: