We’ve been challenged recently to defend our somewhat unconventional view of environmentalism. After all, if you believe that most of the conventional wisdom held by typical environmentalists is wrong, are you still an environmentalist?
The answer is yes, yes, yes, absolutely and resolutely, yes. We don’t believe in half the things that we’re supposed to believe in as “environmentalists,” yet we are environmentalists. People in the name of environmentalism waste billions of taxpayer’s money pursuing half-baked schemes, and tie our economy up in knots, and it is our job as non-conformist yet utterly committed environmentalists to carry the torch of true environmentalism. It is our job to expose environmentalist myths at the same time as we relentlessly pursue the truth, and redefine environmentalism to legitimately appeal to a wider, mainstream constituency.
We’re not sure yet whether or not anthropogenic CO2 is the reason for global warming, nor that the most dire predictions of global warming are very likely. We’re think measured use of DDT might be a wise choice in many parts of this world where malaria still runs rampant. We question why people claim there is a shortage of landfills, when we could have ten times as many landfills as we’ve got now and hardly anyone would notice. And we’re not sure recycling is as unambiguously good as environmentalists claim.
We don’t think the world is about to run out of oil, and we don’t think nuclear power is beyond debate, and we think the whole fixation on hydrogen is nonsense. We’re not even sure that genetically modified organisms is always a bad idea. We think humans should build more freeways, dig more quarries, and permit more housing developments. So how on earth can we call ourselves environmentalists?
The reason is simple: Because we want to see pollution cleaned up, we want to see energy abundance, and we want economic growth for all of humanity. Wasting time on hydrogen fuel cells was a distraction that cost billions of dollars and wasted decades – we could have had fuel efficient cars and developed electric cars instead of pursuing this pipe dream. And is nuclear power so bad? Why, if it’s managed responsibly? Are you saying coal power is better? These matters should not be beyond debate.
What’s wrong with freeways if the car is getting fuel efficient and ultra-clean? What’s wrong with more housing developments if the population of the world is going to stablize at 8.0 billion people – which it will? What’s wrong with landfills if recycling uses more energy than just smelting more glass, for example? Why are we regulating CO2 emissions, when we haven’t even eliminated harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide?
Having a commitment to clean technology does not mean we have to wear blinders and agree with everything environmentalist “experts” have to tell us. To be an environmentalist means having a commitment to cleaning up the air, the water, the earth, and to making sure there is room for wildlife and wilderness. It doesn’t have to mean you are against development of any kind, nor does it mean you have to fear every demon you are told to fear. Environmentalism should be a rational set of goals that isn’t influenced by emotional arguments or peer pressure.
Environmentalism should mean clean technology, near-zero pollution, and within that context, realistic balancing of ecological and economic objectives. We look for exciting examples of truly environmentally friendly technologies; battery powered cars, photovoltaic cells, green buildings; the list is endless and fascinating. We are as on guard for excesses of misguided socialist “remedies” as we are on the lookout for the excesses of unfettered capitalism. We have no allegience to either. Environmentalism, truly expressed, should have no ideology outside itself, not left nor right, not religious nor secular.