On the environment--thoughts on the security of our global homeland



Good stewardship?


The anti-evolutionist believes that a ticking watch implies the presence of a watchmaker, and asks "How could a watch assemble itself?"


The anti-environmentalist believes that a watch can keep ticking without interruption after many of the gears are destroyed.


The Christian anti-environmentalist believes that the watchmaker doesn't care if the watch is destroyed.




Toward a human-centered environmental ethic:


Not long ago I overheard a conversation between two people.  Both were marvelling at the idea that anyone would seriously take into consideration the possible environmental impacts of a flouridated water supply.  "Our childen's teeth are rotting", one of them said, "and they are worried about salmon?  These are human children!"


This conversation was a classic example of the fallacy of comparing apples with oranges.  The environmental movement is not about upholding the value of an individual fish or any other creature.  Nor is the environmental movement about devaluing human beings, either individually or as a species.  The environmental movement is driven by a desire to pass on to our children's children a world where all the pieces are still intact and none are irreplaceably missing.  Even if it means a child must be more conscientious about brushing her teeth.  The difference between human beings and other many species is that they are at risk of extinction and we are not.  As our numbers and our collective consumption and our collective impact keep rising, if we continue to operate as if an inconvenience or loss of benefit to an individual person or group of people outweighs the loss of an entire species, our children's children will inherent a very empty world.




On global warming and global climatic change:


Where do we start?  Increase the atmospheric CO2 levels to a point not seen in the last 500,000 years, destroy the arctic environment, dump fresh meltwater into the ocean circulation system at its most sensitive touchpoint, and expect things to continue on as usual?  Dream on.  Or educate yourself.




The hard facts:


Due to human activity, the carbon dioxide content in the earth's atmosphere has increased at an unprecedented rate throughout the last 50 years, with no end in sight to this trend, already reaching a level not seen at any other time in the last 500,000 years. Arguing about whether or not the climate has begun to warm is like dumping water in a car's gas tank and arguing about whether or not the engine has yet begun to sputter. Our children will live to see the complete destruction of the arctic ecosystems. See www.esr.org/outreach/climate_change/mans_impact/man1.html, and www.esr.org.




"Science is junk": the extraordinary delusions of conservative America


I'm reeling in disbelief as I write this. Moments ago I heard a member of the conservative "Hudson Institute" defend the institute's selection of Rachael Carson's "Silent Spring" as one of the "most damaging books of the 20th century". This fool stated that there "is very little evidence that DDT is harmful--you can eat it", and then went on to state that "the mystical science of Rachael Carson resulted in the deaths of millions of humans in Africa due to malaria." If the conservatives in America have suddenly become wildly compassionate about the plight of those poor people over in Africa, and therefore find it necessary to agitate for the re-introduction of DDT, that's their right. But to portray DDT as environmentally benign, and to portray Carson's work as junk science, are both utterly beyond the pale. The conservative movement in America should hereafter be ashamed to bandy about the proud image of the Bald Eagle as the symbol of their extreme zenophobia, their knee-jerk militarism, and their blind patriotism, because that majestic creature--along with the Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, and other raptors and seabirds--suffered a dramatic population crash in the mid-20th century that was directly caused by the catastrophic effects of DDT upon their reproductive sytems. The thriving, growing populations of these creatures that we see today are the direct result of the banning of DDT and the intensive conservation, captive breeding and re-introduction efforts by falconers and biologists. A "business as usual" approach, continued to the present day, would have led directly to the extinction of the bird that is our national symbol. People like this fool mean well; they undoubtedly have convinced themselves that they are looking out for the best interests of this nation. But that they would allow themselves to speak so freely from a place of such ignorance signifies a level of arrogance that knows no bounds. This is a different kind of "human-centered" world view--this is a world view that is centered upon the willful ignorance and deliberate blindness and intellectual laziness of a small group of humans, who have found a way to massage their egos by keeping their heads firmly in the sand.





On R. L.'s environmental philosophy:


(R.L. is a certain well-known conservative radio talk show host...)


R. doesn't talk much about God.  But his belief system--which may be fairly representative of the "conservative" point of view on the environment--seems to go something like this:


Capitalism and industrial progress are inherently good.


Therefore it's convenient to believe that God has created the world in such a way that it cannot be significantly damaged by the activity of man.


And therefore it's convenient to believe that the scientists who warn of global climate change and environmental collapse are stupid, silly, and involved in a conspiracy.  And that anyone who agrees with them is motivated by some sort of bizarre eco-pagan philosophy that would have us all "running around in loincloths".


So... why do you believe what you believe?