Monthly Archives: April 2013

Environmentalism as a Dangerous Special Interest

So let me state, before I expand on my main point here, that I care a great deal about the Environment and do a lot to reduce my own impact on it. Only an insane person would want to live on a polluted planet but there are three things that I see happening lately that concern me with Environmentalists  1. The “Environment” has become big business. 2. Environmentalists in general are very hypocritical and therefore should not be in leadership positions when it comes to solving our Environmental problems. We should leave this to real scientists. Meaning those that understand the scientific method and have proven that they do. 3. Environmentalists often are poor scientists, but hand out “scientific” information that is often outdated and wrong. This extends from a cult like status that most Environmental groups have. In essence, you have to be “one of them” to even be allowed to speak, and then you better make sure you agree with them most of the time even if they’re wrong.
Now, the Environmentalists will almost definitely counter these statements with, you must be a right wing man, because this is their default bullshit defense when anyone disagrees with them. So again, I am not. I learned a long time ago that both political parties are pretty much the same and I vote Green party now but have voted for others in the past. I actually vote for who I believe in. Imagine that.
Anyway, I’ll justify each point in a list.
Point One:
A very nice man in a BMW came up to my door the other day to try and help the environment. He had a large BMW 5 series, and said, I see you’re still using a CFL outside, perhaps you should use an LED bulb. As if this was some revolation to me. The truth is I started using LED bulbs when Environmentalists were still telling everyone to use CFLs, regardless of the toxic mercury in them, and the fact that grandma didn’t know that that meant that they had to be recycled instead of just thrown in the trash. They also are made overseas and often travel at least 4,000 miles to get here. So silly me, I thought I should actually replace them with LEDs as they burn up and recycle the old bulbs. You see the wealthy are all on board with the “green” thing now because it’s part of hip rich guy culture, but a person driving a sports or luxury car is probably missing the point. You see, they seem to forget that even if I ran my car twice as much and used all CFLs instead of LEDs in my home I couldn’t come close to emitting the pollution in a year that that they do.
Also, about 73.9 million American workers are on minimum wage. The next tier aren’t far about that. So about 1/3rd of American workers make around minimum wage. So when your super wealthy Environmental organizations come around and tell you to spend more money to save the Environment they are missing the point that at least 1/3rd of Americans can’t spend more. They also forget that buying local isn’t always better. Wired recently ran a blurb about wasteful watering techniques on wineries. Many wineries, especially those run by technologically adverse hippies, don’t use water monitoring technologies. They use the “neighbor” watering method. Meaning that they water when their neighbors do, wasting up to 80% of their fresh water. Now since we think only about 3% of all water is fresh water, and we’ve polluted at least 25% of that then buying organic wine off of Free Waterfall Senior out of the back of his poorly maintained Volkswagen Bus might actually be worse for the environment then buying it from a responsible farm that uses water monitoring technology and may actually use some conventional techniques as well to make the most out of their land usage. So let’s look at this from a business standpoint. You’re buying all new bulbs for your home, which is awesome for rich Americans that have invested in the tech compaines that make the bulbs mostly overseas. You are buying wine that costs twice as much but wastes fresh water, and you’re poor because you’re buying overpriced local food as well cause you feel guilty but you’re doing this without evidence, or with evidence provided to you buy biased environmentalists  that the farm you are buying from saves resources. In the end there’s a good chance that you’re just maintaining a specific lifestyle for some of your neighbors, and certainly filling their pocketbooks  but are you saving the environment? Well, new technology will probably save the environment. Imagine a train that travels at 4,000 mph with zero friction running off of solar panels. This train can transverse the US and use less energy than Free Waterfalls’ VW Bus.
Point Two:
How many environmentalists do you know that ski, golf, and participate in outdoor activities that require specialized craft, etc. to participate in? I know a lot, and I don’t hold this against them. They are doing what those of us in the developed world do and perusing a hobby, but they will sure hold certain hobbies against you. I am into motorcycles. I often commute on mine, and when I do I get 53mpg, but when I just use it for fun it’s technically wasteful. Still, I consistently have environmentalists in Subaru Outbacks raving about plastic bag bans, even though their vehicles use about a 900 year supply of bags up in one year on the road (based on 10,000 miles driven). Sure, little things add up, but they are definitely missing the point if they are up your ass about plastic bags while driving a car even 3,000 miles a year. They are still using about a 300 year supply of plastic bags up in that distance, especially if they are just using their vehicles to goof off and get to a golf course or ski slope. Which both require many gasoline and diesel powered machines to be maintained and run annually.
Point Three:
I won’t rehash points made in point one and two here. I will highlight a recent development in my local school system to help me make this point. Freshmen are taking AP classes now. Yep, our school system has a 25% drop out rate here, and we again are focusing on the few good students in school to pull its averages up, not fixing the underlying problems. However, the AP science offering here for Freshmen is Environmental Science. Which I would have nothing against as a senior level course, but how is a student really going to understand Environmental Science if they haven’t taken basic Chemistry, Biology and some Ecology? Basically, it’s a super watered down course that puts the schools on the map, but is introduced at the inappropriate time to attract students that will do well in the course. When running this by Environmentalists they oven tell me how a student of this kind of science doesn’t need to understand complex Biology and Chemistry to do well in this course, or even Ecology, and then I wonder what they could possibly be studying.
This leads me to my final point. The core sciences have all of the necessary tools a student needs to successfully work on Environmental problems. You should learn the core sciences, and specialize later. The Environment is important, but Environmental science seems poorly defined as a field at best. It is good for colleges, who want to fill seats, it is a popular buzz word among the wealthy who want to pretend that by saving a few bags their 5,00 square foot all glass home, and 8 cylinder luxury car has little or no impact, but in the end the definition of what it does in constantly changing. This makes it a sham science. What we really need to do is look to our traditional scientific and engineering fields, who have already produced many items that would alleviate pressure on the Environment while maintaining quality of life, and stop gumming up the works with popular buzz science instead. Also, helping out other people has a positive impact on the environment. So instead of filtering money to poorly run, questionable Environmental not for profits, maybe we should put it into things like clean water and scrutinize Environmental organizations as much as we do just bout everything else. They have millions of dollars, retirement funds, and all of the makings of businesses that will maintain themselves and lie if necessary to keep their organizations afloat, but they seem to benefit from a belief that they are trying to do good on the whole even when the evidence doesn’t support it or doesn’t even exist. I think that instead of applying this bias to them, we should hold them to a standard like we should hold any organization to and stop funding them if they’re inefficient. This is what makes them dangerous. Misdirecting funds that are needed elsewhere for legit work that also benefits the environment.