Ethanol, Morality and the Inhumanity of Environmentalism
There’s a recent story of a woman in Britain who had an abortion, followed by sterilization so as not to burden the earth with her consumption of the earth’s finite resources; or reduce her carbon footprint; I can’t remember the precise reason. Apparently, she didn’t care enough to eliminate herself as well.
Then, there’s information that a tankful of ethanol consumes enough corn to feed a person for an entire year. Also, the creation of that gallon of ethanol consumes enough energy so as to create no net gain in energy available. The ultimate farm program–grow corn and then burn it.
Then, we have the situation of a resurgence of insect borne diseases, particularly malaria in the third world. It seems that the enforcement of our ban on DDT is being enforce world-wide. These poverty stricken countries, unable to afford the more expensive substitutes, elect to do nothing since they cannot. Now malaria, on the wane, has claimed a toll of tens of millions of lives. Is it that the lives of raptors exceeds the value of the lives of our dark skinned brothers and sisters in the third world? Oh, no, such politically incorrect thoughts would never cross the minds of the melanin-challenged directorate of the Sierra Club.
Same said environmentalists will do everything to block any logging activities in our public lands. The result is fuel chocked forest stands that burn with a ferocity that makes firefighting so lethal that lives are now routinely lost fighting those fires. And, somehow, clear cutting is the most horrible fate to befall any forest. Yet, burnt out stands of forest, moonscapes sometimes occupying hundreds of square miles, are somehow more attractive.
A distinction needs to be drawn between the conservation of Teddy Roosevelt and modern-day environmentalism. The former is good stewardship. Use what you need, but don’t waste what you don’t. It is an ethic that recognizes that our natural resources are there for human beings. Human beings are part of the ecosystem. That the one species, made in the image of God, does have a priority and that we have a moral obligationto use those resources to aid and preserve human life.
Environmentalism, however, looks upon man as some alien interloper to be somehow banished. At least those humans that live in fly-over country. Not the ones that assuage their guilty consciences by eating free range chicken at some tony San Francisco eatery on some environmental foundation expense account. Never mind that factory-farm Tyson chicken is, for some families, the only way to afford reasonable priced protein. It is not science, but an aesthetic only of individuals who have the economic wherewithal to spin loopy theories of social ordering. Then have the clout, courtesy their foundations, to buy their way into the halls of power and impose such since their theories will never intrude into their insulated lives; but will wreck devastation upon those less fortunate (and less enlightened) who don’t have the decency to know their places in the environmental new world order.
Scores or more of these troglodytes are rendered unemployed because logging operations are completely shut down for some environmental aesthetic. Never mind that any forest needs to be culled. And, those trees culled can become wood for peoples homes. No, it is far preferable to allow those some fuel chocked woods to burn to the ground rather than allow human benefit in the form of jobs or forest products such as shelter for fellow humans.
Then, we get to the ultimate burning. Corn for ethanol. The ethanol craze is leading to the conversion of crop land to the cultivation of crops merely for the purpose of ethanol distillation. Even rain forests (remember that vogue cause) are being leveled in the name of ethanol. Now, food shortages are leading to food riots in the third world. And, in those same areas, where hope of economic progress was lifting millions out of abject poverty, we are seeing those dreams flattened by rising food prices driving those same-said people back into extreme privation. It is one area where environmentalism has crossed a bright moral line. It is a practice that needs to be stopped because it is literally stealing food from the mouths of fellow humans. Conservatives, like myself, once decried farm price supports. Now, I pine for the good old days of farm subsidies–subsidies that at least lead to farm production that produced food. Food for people to eat.
Finally, we come to the role of pseudo-science, myth, in the role of extending the reach of the environmental aesthetic. DDT is the index case. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, it turns out, played fast and loose with the facts. There is a considerable group of counter-arguments that call into question the validity of Carson’s conclusions. Eagle populations were, in fact, recovering long before the DDT ban because of other legislative measures going back to the 50’s that were successfully protecting our national bird. The DDT ban was a contest of wills and the marker of a committment to the cause of environmental aesthetics, not a regulatory policy scientifically designed to address a specific problem. Yet, the precedent was set. Namely, a green light for any environmental “problem” to given credence with out any evidence to support such a charge. It became the practice to level an environmental charge and force the target to prove the negative. The latest is the fraud known as global warming (or now climate change since warming isn’t quite hold water anymore).
Yet, while this latest pseudo-scientific fad, global warming is finally wilting under data that is implying the opposite (and finally going the way of the such fads as eugenics), it has already left a wreckage of public policy that will take years to sort out. Maybe four dollar gasoline is a God-send to the environmental set, but it has had a devastating impact on the lives of “bitter” America. The plumber that installs your $1500 designer faucet as the tile man installs your granite counter top in your gourmet kitchen comes to your house in full-size pickup because they need them to carry the tools and materials that are part and parcel of their trade–no, it won’t fit in a Prius.