Category Archive 'Environmentalism'
29 Jul 2017

Shame!

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Game of Throne characters exploit environmentalist superstition to sell a home sparkling water device in this Australian ad.

Bottled water makers sued!

HT: Karen L. Myers.

15 Jul 2017

Everything You Were Told Was True Might Be Wrong

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Take Easter Island. For a long time now, we’ve been told the resident culture’s decline constitutes a cautionary tale about environmental destruction via human excess.

A new study paints a completely different picture. New Atlas:

When Europeans first landed on Easter Island in the 18th century, they found a barren landscape. The story goes that to raise the huge stone heads, called moai, the Rapa Nui people felled most of the island’s trees to use as rollers, burning the rest for fuel and warmth. The negative effects of a treeless island cascaded down, destroying their previous prosperity and leaving the tribes fighting over resources.

“The traditional story is that over time the people of Rapa Nui used up their resources and started to run out of food,” says Carl Lipo, co-author of the study. “One of the resources that they supposedly used up was trees that were growing on the island. Those trees provided canoes and, as a result of the lack of canoes, they could no longer fish. So they started to rely more and more on land food. As they relied on land food, productivity went down because of soil erosion, which led to crop failures … painting the picture of this sort of catastrophe. That’s the traditional narrative.”

To get a better understanding of what the people of Easter Island were eating and how, a team from Binghamton University analyzed human, animal and plant remains dating as far back as 1400 CE. Analyzing the carbon and nitrogen isotopes of the collagen in bones can reveal the diet of ancient people, and these were compared with isotope analyses of the ancient and modern plant and marine samples to get an idea of where their food was coming from.

The results showed that about half of the proteins the Rapa Nui people were consuming came from marine sources, which means they were fishing more consistently for a longer period than they were given credit for. At the same time, the food they were cultivating on land was more productive than previously thought, with the environmental analyses showing an understanding of how to improve poor soil fertility.

“We found that there’s a fairly significant marine diet, over time, throughout history and that people were eating marine resources, and it wasn’t as though they only had food from terrestrial resources,” says Lipo. “We also learned that what they did get from terrestrial resources came from very modified soils, that they were enriching the soils in order to grow the crops. That supports the argument we’ve made in our previous work, that these people came up with an ingenious strategy in enriching the soils by adding bedrock to the surface and inside the soil to create, essentially, fertilizer to support their populations, and that forest loss really isn’t a catastrophe as previously described.”

Although the story of the Rapa Nui’s self-destruction serves as a good fable to teach environmental awareness and responsibility, the Binghamton team concludes that it’s not that simple. The history of Easter Island is more nuanced, and the ancient people shouldn’t be written off as reckless and careless.

14 Jul 2017

Theodore Dalrymple Visits Glastonbury

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John Tenniel, Mrs. Jellyby

In Taki’s Magazine, and finds a character from Dickens writ large.

In my salad days as vulgarity correspondent—that is to say, a reporter on the disgusting ways in which young British people so often chose to behave—I was sent one year to the Glastonbury Festival. This is a large gathering of the British lumpenintelligentsia come to celebrate its own appalling taste in music, in a place vaguely associated with druidism, the healing chakras of the earth, Hopi ear candles, and that kind of thing: ideal, in other words, for people who claim to be spiritual but not religious. …

This year, unhappily, the weather at the Glastonbury Festival was fine, so that the lumpenintelligentsia was able to disport itself exactly as it wished. The crowd—I hesitate only slightly to call it the mob—was addressed by the man who might be Britain’s next prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, whom it greeted like a rock star, which should have been enough to give any decent or sensible man pause. Among the worst of Mr. Corbyn’s vices, however, is his sincerity.

He enthused the massed ranks of youthful idealists by telling them that another world was possible: As indeed it was, for when they departed Glastonbury, they left behind them so much litter in this corner of rural England that it made a rubbish dump in Mexico City seem like Switzerland. I don’t think I have ever seen so much detritus left behind by a crowd of people anywhere in the world.

What was most intriguing to me was the fact that the crowd must have been contentedly wallowing in this rubbish for days on end, for it could hardly have accumulated in the last hour or two of the festival. Horrified no doubt by CO2 emissions and rising temperatures, they failed to notice what was about their very feet, and certainly did nothing about it. Indeed, they slept contentedly among it, too exhausted by their idealism and labors of licentiousness for them to apply their minds to anything as lowly as the litter that they dropped, as cows defecate in fields. It was for others to pick up their rubbish after them: That is what social justice required.

After a little reflection on this subject, I came to the conclusion that the most powerful intellectual influences on contemporary British youth are (appropriately enough) two women, one of them fictional and the other historical.

The first is Mrs. Jellyby, the telescopic philanthropist in Dickens’ Bleak House. Mrs. Jellyby, you will remember if you have read the book, desires to settle English families in Africa for their own good and for the good of the natives:

    “You find me, my dears,” said Mrs. Jellyby, snuffing the two great office candles in tin candlesticks which made the room taste strongly of hot tallow (the fire had gone out, and there was nothing in the grate but ashes, a bundle of wood, and a poker), “you find me, my dears, as usual, very busy; but that you will excuse. The African project at present employs my whole time. It involves me in correspondence with public bodies, and with private individuals anxious for the welfare of their species all over the country. I am happy to say it is advancing. We hope by this time next year to have from a hundred and fifty to two hundred healthy families cultivating coffee and educating the natives of Borrioboola-Gha, on the left bank of the Niger.”

Meanwhile, her own children around her fall down the stairs, get their heads stuck between railings, and go hungry, all in conditions of the utmost dirt and disorder.

RTWT

18 Apr 2017

Environmental Science

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06 Mar 2017

Envirnonmentalism versus Dakota Pipeline

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02 Jan 2017

Pipeline Protested

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30 Dec 2016

Government as Gremlin

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Inside the Beltway there are loads of enormous buildings, each with its own campus, and each filled with thousands and thousands of people dedicated to stopping your toilet from flushing right, making your appliances cease to function properly, messing with your engine’s performance, taking the spare tire out of your car, and making everything more expensive.

Jeffrey Tucker visited Brazil and enjoyed taking an old-fashioned shower.

We have long lived with regulated showers, plugged up with a stopper imposed by government controls imposed in 1992. There was no public announcement. It just happened gradually. After a few years, you couldn’t buy a decent shower head. They called it a flow restrictor and said it would increase efficiency. By efficiency, the government means “doesn’t work as well as it used to.”

We’ve been acculturated to lame showers, but that’s just the start of it. Anything in your home that involves water has been made pathetic, thanks to government controls.

You can see the evidence of the bureaucrat in your shower if you pull off the showerhead and look inside. It has all this complicated stuff inside, whereas it should just be an open hole, you know, so the water could get through. The flow stopper is mandated by the federal government.

To be sure, the regulations apply only on a per-showerhead basis, so if you are rich, you can install a super fancy stall with spray coming at you from all directions. Yes, the market invented this brilliant but expensive workaround. As for the rest of the population, we have to live with a pathetic trickle.

It’s a pretty astonishing fact, if you think about it. The government ruined our showers by truncating our personal rights to have a great shower even when we are willing to pay for one. Sure, you can hack your showerhead but each year this gets more difficult to do. Today it requires drills and hammers, whereas it used to just require a screwdriver.

The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades. I had to laugh when Donald Trump made mention of this during the campaign. He was challenged to name an EPA regulation he didn’t like. And recall that he is in the hospitality business and knows a thing or two about this stuff.

“You have showers where I can’t wash my hair properly,” he said. “It’s a disaster. It’s true. They have restrictors put in. The problem is you stay under the shower for five times as long.”

The pundit class made fun of him, but he was exactly right! This is a huge quality of life issue that affects every American, every day.

It’s not just about the showerhead. The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades, thanks to EPA mandates on state and local governments. This has meant that even with a good showerhead, the shower is not as good as it might be. It also means that less water is running through our pipes, causing lines to clog and homes to stink just slightly like the sewer. This problem is much more difficult to fix, especially because plumbers are forbidden by law from hacking your water pressure.

The combination of poor pressure and lukewarm temperatures profoundly affects how well your dishwasher and washing machine work.As for the heat of the water, the obsession over “safety” has led to regulations that the top temperature is preset on most water heaters, at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is only slightly hotter than the ideal temperature for growing yeast. Most are shipped at 110 degrees in order to stay safe with regulators. This is not going to get anything really clean; just the opposite. Water temperatures need to be 140 degrees to clean things. (Looking at the industry standard, 120 is the lowest-possible setting for cleaning but 170 degrees gives you the sure thing.)

The combination of poor pressure and lukewarm temperatures profoundly affects how well your dishwasher and washing machine work. Plus, these two machines have been severely regulated in how much energy they can consume and how much water they can use. Top-loading washing machines are a thing of the past, while dishwashers that grind up food and send it away are a relic. We are lucky now to pull out a glass without soap scum on it. As for clothing, what you are wearing is not clean by your grandmother’s standards.

So you might have a vague sense that your clothing and dishes aren’t coming out as clean as they might have in the past. This is exactly right. But because we don’t have a direct comparison, and these regulations have taken many years to gradually unfold and take over our lives, we don’t notice this as intensely.

When you travel to Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, or Switzerland – and probably many places I’ve never been – you are suddenly shocked. Why does everything work so well? Why don’t things work as well in the US? The answer is one word: government. This is the only reason.

Read the whole thing.

26 Oct 2016

Outside Magazine Comes Out Against Campfires (!)

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campfiremarlboro

There are two kinds of people. There are people who go to the Out-of-Doors to hunt and fish and to enjoy Nature as an active participant, and there are citified wussy wimp nincompoops who hike or bike or ski or climb in the Out-of-Doors wearing expensive synthetic getups in the same kinds of colors as lifesavers.

Outside Magazine is a publication for exactly those kind of tree-hugging, Obama-voting sodomites. If you want a laugh at just how far up his own posterior one of these eco-snowflakes can insert his head, read this, Wes Siler’s pious screed explaining that campfires are “a dangerous, polluting, wasteful relic of the past,” way too hazardous and unsafe for ordinary Americans to safely enjoy.

[T]he campfire has had its day. With massive wildfires raging all summer long and exhausting state budgets, and with participation in outdoor recreation booming to record numbers, maybe the the negative impacts of the campfire now outweigh tradition and comfort.

25 Sep 2016

Return of the Jaguar

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The Jaguar (Panthera onca), third largest feline predator in the world, has been described as extinct in the United States since early in the last century, but rumors and scattered alleged sightings on the tops of the “sky island” mountains south of Tuscon, Arizona were followed in recent years by photographs and videos, and even treeings and collarings of real jaguars in the Arizona mountains.

Smithsonian has a typical bleating nincompoop piece gushing over the return of the jaguar (in reality, doubtless, jaguars have always been present in the same area in very small numbers, their existence simply denied and overlooked by the authorities), complete with naming the kitty, publicity and promotion for particular self-appointed experts, partisan turf war accounts, and anti-capitalist agitation (development of a single copper mine south of Bisbee might threaten or somehow impede the peregrinations of the odd jaguar).

The real threat to the presence of jaguars in the United States is Donald Trump’s “great, beautiful wall,” 35 to 50 feet high, which would probably not stop really determined humans, but which would put the final kibosh on rare cross-border species like the jaguar.

If you can put up with all the cant, it is still worth reading.


Jaguar filmed recently in Arizona (February 2016 video)

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

18 Mar 2016

Human Vanity and Environmental Catastrophism

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Steinberg_New_Yorker_Cover

Betty Gorisch discusses the exaggerated sense of self-importance which so wildly misunderstands the comparative scale and importance of humanity and its activities in the great scheme of things. There is consequently always an imminent danger of our producing one or another species of grand natural catastrophe if we fail to listen to our experts.

[H]umans tend to see themselves as the causes of a great many natural-world disruptions, which allows applications of political pressures imposing behavioral control on humanity. I suggest we may be looking at a kind of infantile egoism extending into individual and collective maturity and throughout our species; human agency as causative should accordingly be looked upon with skepticism. The view seems to be that if it were not for human activity, the natural world would not change much, and certainly not much for the worse. When challenged with specifics on such matters, most people would be quick to acknowledge that there are indeed other engines of destruction, but there is a default tendency to blame people and the things they make and do first. Any other possible causes are generally evaluated later — not only after human agency has been ruled out, but also after media attention on the matter in question has faded.

Some few of these people almost certainly know better. We can only speculate about their motives. I myself find it almost incomprehensible that they think their own accumulation and exercise of power will be unimpeded by reality. In similar fashion, it is difficult believe that they can be motivated by the gaining of wealth. They already have wealth in nearly monopoly quantities, and while it is clear that they are not merely interested in living extravagantly and intend, instead, to purchase more power, they have not many serious opponents in this world for that either. They come perilously close to being whisperers — the kinds of faint seductive whisperers who inspire humanity with, “You will be like God!”

Read the whole thing.

13 Sep 2015

Happy That Her Green Tyrant Is Leaving Home For College

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GreenKid

Ronnie Cohen is a California liberal who raised her son to be environmentally-conscious, and she has been paying the price.

My son, Cory, will leave our Northern California home to start college back East in the fall, prompting other mothers to offer condolences about my soon-to-be-empty nest. Though they expect me to break into tears, my overriding emotion when my youngest departs will be relief. I will finally be freed from the constant scrutiny of the ever-vigilant eco-warrior I raised.

I can do nothing right in my teenage son’s eyes. He grills me about the distance traveled of each piece of fruit and every vegetable I purchase. He interrogates me about the provenance of all the meat, poultry, and fish I serve. He questions my every move—from how I choose a car (why not electric?) and a couch (why synthetic fill?) to how I tend the garden (why waste water on flowers?)—an unremitting interrogation of my impact on our desecrated environment. While other parents hide alcohol and pharmaceuticals from their teens, I hide plastic containers and paper towels.

I feel like I’ve become the adolescent, sneaking around to avoid my offspring’s scrutiny and lectures. Only when Cory leaves the house do I dare clean the refrigerator of foul-smelling evidence of my careless waste—wilted greens, rotten avocados, moldy leftovers. When he goes out to dinner, I smuggle in a piece of halibut or sturgeon, fish the stocks of which, he tells me, are dangerously depleted. Even worse, I sometimes prepare beef—a drain on precious water, my son assures me, and a heavy contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions.

What a relief I will feel to be out from under the fiery gaze of my personal sustainability meter-reader!

Read the whole thing.

14 Aug 2015

Tweet du Jour

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Tweet92

27 Jul 2015

Progressives’ Progress

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SocialistsCandles

19 Jun 2015

Tweet of the Day

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Tweet86

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