As some prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, I look forward to celebrating People Day. Yes, the earth is valuable — for people. I love the earth — because I get to live here.
Two great writers recently have taken on environmentalist hysteria.
The first is Vincent Carroll, a major reason why the Rocky Mountain News is the best newspaper in the region. Carroll writes:
In the global trajectory of greenhouse emissions, my conservation is meaningless. Yours is, too. What’s more, even yours and mine together — even combined with the conservation of every American who takes similar action – is not significant, either. …
[M]ost of the world’s inhabitants are still poor. They want electricity; they want mobility. And fulfilling their aspirations is going to boost greenhouse gases to a degree that utterly dwarfs any possible tempering of our own energy appetites.
Environmentalism is largely a religion because it encourages pointless acts to lighten one’s guilt for the moral crime of living on earth. Much recycling is a waste of resources (particularly if we take time, the most important human resource, into account). Corn gas has done nothing to fix global warming, though it has contributed to a global food crisis. People spend thousands of extra dollars to drive hybrid cars — some of which get worse gas mileage than my standard car, and which require more resources to produce. There might as well be an environmentalist Rosary.
If there are environmental heroes among us, they are the scientists and technicians who someday figure out how the world can produce much, much more affordable energy — which it is going to need — without adding to greenhouse emissions. In that drama, most of us are fated to be spectators.
Craig Biddle has gone to the next step:
Because Earth Day is intended to further the cause of environmentalism—and because environmentalism is an anti-human ideology — on April 22, those who care about human life should not celebrate Earth Day; they should celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day. …
Exploiting the Earth — using the raw materials of nature for one’s life-serving purposes — is a basic requirement of human life. According to environmentalism, however, man should not use nature for his needs; he should keep his hands off “the goods”; he should leave nature alone, come what may.
[I]f the good is nature untouched by man, how is man to live? What is he to eat? What is he to wear? Where is he to reside? How can man do anything his life requires without altering, harming, or destroying some aspect of nature? In order to nourish himself, man must consume meats, vegetables, fruits, and the like. In order to make clothing, he must skin animals, pick cotton, manufacture polyester, and the like. In order to build a house—or even a hut—he must cut down trees, dig up clay, make fires, bake bricks, and so forth. Each and every action man takes to support or sustain his life entails the exploitation of nature. Thus, on the premise of environmentalism, man has no right to exist.
Biddle is criticizing the essence of environmentalism: the view that the earth is intrinsically valuable, apart from the interests of people. Of course, there are self-proclaimed environmentalists who say they want to improve the human condition through better technology. For some environmentalists, this is just a cover, a way to package their statist, anti-human agenda in populist terms. But others seriously think humans should exploit the earth for their own well-being. But the fact that such environmentalists cannot admit to this shows that they are still operating from an essentially religious viewpoint.