Category Archive 'Environmentalism'
22 Apr 2015

Happy Earth Day!

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EarthDay
Via Vanderleun.

Predictions made on the first Earth Day, 1970:

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
• George Wald, Harvard Biologist

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.”
• Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”
• New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
• Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
• Life Magazine, January 1970

“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

The co-founder of Earth Day killed and composted his girlfriend.

19 Apr 2015

“California Is So Over”

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California-Fruits-Flakes-and-Nuts

Joel Kotkin explains that California has fallen into the hands of the rich and spoiled and ideologically deluded who are determined to embrace a pious environmentalist agenda which will preclude the maintenance or new development of the kinds of infrastructure needed by the rest of the population.

California has met the future, and it really doesn’t work. As the mounting panic surrounding the drought suggests, the Golden State, once renowned for meeting human and geographic challenges, is losing its ability to cope with crises. As a result, the great American land of opportunity is devolving into something that resembles feudalism, a society dominated by rich and poor, with little opportunity for upward mobility for the state’s middle- and working classes.

The water situation reflects this breakdown in the starkest way. Everyone who follows California knew it was inevitable we would suffer a long-term drought. Most of the state—including the Bay Area as well as greater Los Angeles—is semi-arid, and could barely support more than a tiny fraction of its current population. California’s response to aridity has always been primarily an engineering one that followed the old Roman model of siphoning water from the high country to service cities and farms.

But since the 1970s, California’s water system has become the prisoner of politics and posturing. The great aqueducts connecting the population centers with the great Sierra snowpack are all products of an earlier era—the Los Angeles aqueduct (1913), Hetch-Hetchy (1923), the Central Valley Project (1937), and the California Aqueduct (1974). The primary opposition to expansion has been the green left, which rejects water storage projects as irrelevant.

Read the whole thing.

07 Apr 2015

Californians to Pay $500 Fines For Taking Long Showers

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GovernorMoonbeam

Investors Business Daily offers the modest proposal of using market mechanisms instead of penalties and coercion.

California is so dry that Gov. Jerry Brown has instituted water-use restrictions for the first time in the state’s history. The problem, though, is not a shortage of water. It’s a shortage of thinking.

The Parched State — once known as the Golden State — is so dry that Brown said it “demands unprecedented action.”

“We have to pull together and save water in every way we can,” Brown said Wednesday from Echo Summit in the Sierra Nevada, where, AP reports, “state water officials found no snow on the ground for the first time in their April manual survey of the snowpack.”

“Were in a new era,” said Brown. “The idea of your nice little green grass getting water every day, that’s going to be a thing of the past.”

Using an executive order, the Democratic governor, according to an official statement, “directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25%.”…

No, this is not a new era. It’s still the era of limited thinking. It’s the Soviet way of dealing with scarcity.

What California needs is more water, not more government mandates. Water is a commodity just like any other, and its allocation should not be left to governments.

If it were bought and sold in an open market, there would be a strong incentive to move water to where demand is high and supply is low — such as California.

But as long as prices are kept artificially low by government dictums, that incentive doesn’t exist and potential providers never become actual providers.

If prices are allowed to rise, however, the profit motive will spur innovation — such as the unlikely prospect of squeezing water out of deserts to sell to consumers — and create competition in which rivals will fight to provide the best service at the lowest price.

When there is no true market for water, it falls under political control, which Terry Anderson and Peter Hill say in “Water Marketing — The Next Generation” precludes efficient pricing while at the same time creating political conflict and encouraging waste.

This is where we are now in California.

A water market won’t pop up this weekend to save the state, but market pricing would help conserve what’s on hand until new resources come online.

We’ve made this point multiple times. If the price of water is set by the market rather than bureaucrats who can’t possibly know what the right price is and always let politics dictate their decisions, consumers would self-ration when the price rose.

California successfully navigated its drought problems in the early 1990s under Republican Gov. Pete Wilson using pricing mechanisms and authorizing the California Drought Emergency Water Bank to buy water from agricultural sources.

Farmers profited more from selling water than from the crops they would have otherwise used the water for. One economist said in 1991 that that year might “be a turning point in California’s transition to water trading.”

But California didn’t learn then and it still doesn’t understand today.

———————————-

Native old-time Californian Victor Davis Hanson identifies the underlying problem: massive population growth in an artificially-watered desert environment whose spoiled inhabitants have embraced an extremist environmentalist ideology which makes their own lifestyles “unsustainable.”

Brown and other Democratic leaders will never concede that their own opposition in the 1970s (when California had about half its present population) to the completion of state and federal water projects, along with their more recent allowance of massive water diversions for fish and river enhancement, left no margin for error in a state now home to 40 million people. Second, the mandated restrictions will bring home another truth as lawns die, pools empty, and boutique gardens shrivel in the coastal corridor from La Jolla to Berkeley: the very idea of a 20-million-person corridor along the narrow, scenic Pacific Ocean and adjoining foothills is just as unnatural as “big” agriculture’s Westside farming. The weather, climate, lifestyle, views, and culture of coastal living may all be spectacular, but the arid Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay-area megalopolises must rely on massive water transfers from the Sierra Nevada, Northern California, or out-of-state sources to support their unnatural ecosystems.

We’re suffering the ramifications of the “small is beautiful,” “spaceship earth” ideology of our cocooned elites. Californians have adopted the ancient peasant mentality of a limited good, in which various interests must fight it out for the always scarce scraps. Long ago we jettisoned the can-do visions of our agrarian forebears, who knew California far better than we do and trusted nature far less. Now, like good peasants, we are at one another’s throats for the last drops of a finite supply.

13 Feb 2015

No Wonder Tim Burton Left Her

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HelenaBonhamCarterTuna

Another prominent member of the international community of fashion offers ethical instruction to the rest of us in a manner combining canting sanctimony with extreme exhibitionism, reports the Telegraph.

For a woman who readily admits to being afraid of fish, a giant tuna seems to be the most unlikely of Valentine’s dates.

However, Helena Bonham Carter overcome her phobia to pose naked with this magnificent specimen in support of the Blue Marine Foundation, which is campaigning for marine reserves to protect endangered species around the world.

The 48-year-old actress, who split from director Tim Burton last December, was persuaded to undertake the project by her friend Greta Scacchi.

Having said that, I conquered my fears and by the end of the morning we’d truly bonded. He will be my Valentine.’

The fish in question was a Bigeye tuna, which belongs to the wider mackerel family Scombridae.

The actress appears nude while embracing a Bigeye Tuna in a series of photos in a rather unusual show of support for the Blue Marine Foundation.

Model Lizzie Jagger and actress Emilia Fox have also posed nude for Fishlove.

Read the whole thing.

19 Mar 2014

Britain’s Capital Planning to Ban All Its Greatest Automobiles

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Jaguar E-Type

Road & Track simply marvels at the astounding overreach of proposed eco-tyranny.

In an effort to further reduce pollution in Great Britain, new regulations have been proposed that would effectively ban all classic cars from London’s city center. R&T understands that the mandate, which was first floated last February, would establish an Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), disallowing all pre-2005-registered vehicles from entering a prime area of downtown London effective 2020. …

Britain, always fertile ground for irony, also seems to have forgotten that its auto industry hasn’t contributed anything truly noteworthy to the motoring zeitgeist in roughly half a century (with a few notable exceptions, such as the McLaren F1). Thus, the ULEZ would take every great English car ever made—the Jaguar E-Type, Aston Martin DB5, Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, the Lotus Esprit Series 1, and even the original city car, Issigonis’s Mini—and promptly ban them all from entering the most visible area of the nation’s capital.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Well-intentioned? Sure, but the proposed ULEZ is ignorant at best and outright draconian at worst.

20 Jun 2013

“We Only Shoot the Weak Ones”

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Max Kennedy looks on approvingly as his daughter Noah slaughters baby seals.

Bobby Kennedy’s ninth child, Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, yesterday provoked amused astonishment when he posted the above photo on Facebook, accompanied by the message:

Noah and me working with Canadian wild life officials to cull seal population near Rankin Inlet. Over population of seals is causing great damage to local fisheries. Thousands of seal pups must be culled each year. We worked with trappers who taught Noah how to identify the weak ones.

———————-

Jack Coleman, at Newsbusters,

Put another way — here’s a photo of my daughter shooting baby seals.

Imagine the veins-bulging outrage from liberals, animal rights groups and anti-gun activists if the teenage daughter of nearly any prominent conservative was photographed doing the same. Or Sarah Palin for that matter.

01 May 2013

This Marvellous Age of Science

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Winston Churchill as a boy owned, played with, and undoubtedly cast and painted lead soldiers. He owned something like 1500 hundred of them –probably one of the largest juvenile collections ever on the planet–, and no one ever thought Churchill intellectually impaired.

The Left, as we all know, has Science on its side, and its regime of experts intends to govern us guided by the insights delivered by established science.

The Left’s supposedly science-based policies, however, have a tendency to resemble primitive superstition, frequently incorporating Ousiaphobia (My own neologism: “the fear of substances”) which in every way resembles the sort of fear that primitive natives manifest toward things declared taboo by tribal witchdoctors.

Our own witchdoctors come with Ph.D.s, of course, and our politicians enthusiastically embody taboos in legislation. One particularly notorious example was the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 which banned ever-more-minute levels of the taboo element LEAD (symbol: Pb) in children’s toys, &c.

That particularly absurd piece of legislation had much more far-reaching implications than banning the importation of toys painted with lead paint from China. It effectively prohibited the sale of used (and antique) toys carrying traces of the forbidden metal, and when the law (passed under George W. Bush, mind you) went into effect early in 2009, it was thought also to ban all children’s books printed before 1985, because (oogah, boogah!) back then printers’ ink contained minute quantities of lead. The act banned lead in levels of 300 parts per million, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission promised that it would enforce the ban since “[g]iven the way that kids tear and chew through library books… it’s unlikely that libraries have many children’s books that are more than 24 years old.”

Our federal government has declared all children’s books printed before 1985 taboo on the basis of the belief that children customarily eat books.

Apparently, the book purge is still underway, four years later. A commenter on a publishing blog (read by my wife) reported yesterday.

My regional library system got hit hard by the requirement to riff all the older kids books (lead in the ink, natch). That really flubbed up their budget. I suspect they are not alone in this. The Friends of the Library group has stepped up and done a lot, but I’ve noticed the number of new acquisitions is declining.

Most people in America go to school for sixteen long years. They get science courses, and learn that Darwin proved that life arose spontaneously by chance, and that Natural Selection is good as a basis for rejecting traditional religion, but is absolutely not to be tolerated in human society. I presume everyone gets Chemistry courses and learns that lead is an element, is a metal, and is heavy. Chemistry courses probably inform people today that compounds of heavy metals tend to be very poisonous, but it is clear that the relationship, or lack thereof, between very poisonous and “300 parts in a million” is very evidently not made clear. Neither is the obvious necessity of employing common sense and testing theories against historical fact.

If exposure to books with infinitesimal amounts of lead in the ink they are printed with really impacted children, every youngster who was so foolhardy as to devote significant time to reading would have to be presumed to have damaged his intelligence. In reality, it’s the children who read a lot who went on to get scholarships to Yale.

Winston Churchill monkeyed around with lead during his childhood on a scale which would obviously appall today’s scientific experts. You can bet that he handled, fondled, ordered and re-ordered, and played with every single one of those 1500 lead soldiers. He undoubtedly was additionally equipped with molds for making more of them, and he doubtless, like most hobbyists of his ilk, poured melted lead and cast his own lead soldiers which he then trimmed, tidied up, and painted. The boy Churchill’s hands were, you can count on it, soiled with lead on many a day.

I fished with lead sinkers as a boy, and during some periods, I too used a lead pot, casting my own sinkers. I also learned to handload ammunition, and cast bullets. Amazingly Churchill lived to the age of 90, and I’ve made it into my sixth decade myself.

25 Feb 2013

Americans Under Attack, As Usual

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Tom Tomorrow, Summer 1993

Jim Geraghty, in his emailed Morning Jolt, was today in a mood to fight back against the community of fashion’s blame game.

One of my nuttier ideas was taking a Twitter conversation between Cam Edwards and Kurt Schlicter envisioning a rightward sitcom answer to HBO’s “Girls” entitled “Dudes” and trying to turn it into an actual script.

At one point, I had a character in that script rant:

    I’m a married middle-aged guy with a house in the suburbs who goes to work, pays his taxes and takes care of his kids. When the hell did I turn into the villain in society? Chris Brown still walks the streets! In the time it’s taken me to finish this sentence, “Shawty Lo” has impregnated three more women and Kim Kardashian’s been on four more magazine covers! I think one of ‘em’s a fishing magazine!

    Yet somehow Madison Avenue considers me to be their go-to stereotype as a doofus, I’m the butt of every joke, sneered at for unsophisticated tastes, dismissed as a relic of a fading past, accused of not paying my fair share in taxes and insufficiently globally conscious because I’m only taking care of what’s directly in front of me instead of glaciers or the Gaza Strip. How am I the problem in the world today? What the hell did I ever do?

I remember a comment from Mark Steyn a few NR cruises ago, and I’m going to paraphrase it now: “Americans are first citizens of a global superpower with no interest in conquest. We don’t want other territory, we don’t seek to subjugate other nations, we’re not trying to wipe out any culture we deem inferior. And yet through the rhetoric and of the environmental movement, you, driving your SUV and drinking your Big Gulp and eating your Big Mac, are accused of literally destroying the planet! Not even history’s most brutal dictators faced an accusation on that scale!”

Our political culture and our popular culture are the one-two punch contending that you, ordinary American, going to work or looking for work or looking for better work and just taking care of your families, have somehow become the root of the biggest problems facing the country. It’s your fault.

11 Dec 2012

Indianapolis Zoo Uses Walrus For Recycling Propaganda

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Naturally embarrassed.

28 Nov 2012

The California Way

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Cormorants in La Jolla Cove

Non-interference with sacred and beautiful wild creatures (Just look at those beautiful cormorants!) is obviously a higher value to all Californians than mere human convenience.


UT San Diego
:

The saga now playing out in La Jolla Cove is the epitome of regulatory stupidity. In a rocky area by the cove once open to people but now fenced off for safety reasons, the feces of cormorants and seagulls just keeps piling up, generating a stench that can carry as far as a mile. Dry conditions, a hot summer and other factors have made this a gross everyday problem for the cove area, not an occasional annoyance.

So why can’t city work crews simply take care of the problem? Why can’t biodegradable cleaning products be used to make the stench disappear, as suggested by San Diego Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who represents the area? Why can’t any reason or common sense come to the fore?

Because of complex environmental rules stemming from the cove’s designation as a state-protected “Area of Special Biological Significance.” Officials say it could take two years to get various state agencies to OK cleaning procedures.

09 Oct 2012

“Follow the Frog”

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It’s amazingly easy to exploit the community of bedwetting holier-than-thous, you can even mock their stupidity while getting them to re-affirm all of it by supporting you. Follow the frog, wet ends, he’s more intelligent and better suited to survive than you are.

Hat tip to poor crying-his-eyes-out-over-the Obama-implosion Andrew Sullivan.

09 Aug 2012

California: Enviro-Left Ousts Fish & Game President For Going Hunting

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Western Outdoor News: COMMISSION PRESIDENT CELEBRATES A SUCCESSFUL HUNT – California Fish and Game commissioner Dan W. Richards travelled deep into the wicked terrain of Idaho’s Flying B Ranch to fulfill a long-held goal. “It was the most physically exhausting hunt of my lifetime. Eight hours of cold weather hiking in very difficult terrain. I told the guides I appreciated the hard work. They were unbelievably professional, first class all the way,” he said. Richards said he took the big cat over iron sights using a Winchester Centennial lever action .45 carbine. Asked about California’s mountain lion moratorium, Richards didn’t hesitate. “I’m glad it’s legal in Idaho.”

The LA Times reports that the president of the California Fish and Game Commission has been successfully hounded out of office by the usual West Coast crowd of left-wing extremists for the outrage of legally taking a trophy mountain lion on a hunt in Idaho. Residents of California have been regularly stalked, occasionally mauled, and even killed and eaten by mountain lions in unprecedented numbers of incidents since hunting lions in the Golden State was banned by whacko-supported initiative in 1990.

(Mountain Lion encounters & attacks data)

The California Fish and Game Commission was created a century ago (1909) by sportsmen to manage and regulate the state’s wildlife resources. Its operations and programs are funded by license fees and taxes on sporting goods paid exclusively by hunters and fishermen.

But, in California today, the tyranny of the fruits-and-nuts supporters of the democrat party is so far-reaching, their intolerance and bigotry concerning other people’s lifestyles and convictions so great, that the president of the state Fish and Game Commission has been hounded out office by a six-month-long campaign of vilification based on his being guilty of legally hunting!

Daniel W. Richards was replaced as president of the California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday, seven months after he sparked a storm of controversy by killing a mountain lion during a hunt in Idaho.

Although the kill was legal in Idaho, California has outlawed the hunting of mountain lions for decades. More than 40 state legislators called for Richards to resign in March, saying he showed poor judgment in killing the cougar when the practice is opposed by most Californians.

At the time, Richards defiantly refused to resign from the commission, saying he had done nothing improper. Even though the commission voted to elect Commissioner Jim Kellogg as president Wednesday, Richards plans to remain on the commission until his term expires in January. …

[Michael] Sutton, an executive with the Audubon Society [who was at the same time elected Vice President of the Fish and Game Commission], said later that the killing of the lion and Richards’ comments defending it were factors in his decision to vote to replace Richards.

“It was pretty clear that Commissioner Richards had lost the confidence of the majority of the commission,” Sutton said. “Most of us feel it is inappropriate to use the presidency as a bully pulpit for your views.”

The president of the State Fish & Game Commission is supposed, in California, to be out of line when he uses his office to speak in favor of hunting.

The presidency and control of the commission will be passing out of the hands of the sportsmen who pay for it and into the hands of Environmentalist granola-crunching ideologues eager to implement new policies based on junk science, Animal Rights theories, and hostility to firearms and the field sports.

————————————-

The LA Weekly describes the politics of the situation:

[A]lthough Fish and Game commissioners haven’t explained specifically why they decided to vote Richards down from his throne today, it was clearly a symbolic move to kill the human who killed the beast.

“The president of the commission should be someone who has the confidence of a majority of his peers,” Mike Sutton, vice president, told the Mercury News leading up to the vote.

Richards was playing the feisty right-wing ideologue at the beginning of this battle, but he has since became strangely resigned to his ousting.

He looked on as the commission changed its own internal election policy in May so that they might replace Richards. And today, a Fish and Game Commission spokesman tells us that Richards himself took part in the unanimous vote to elect Commissioner Jim Kellogg as his replacement.

The ex-prez, appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger (surprise, surprise) in 2008, will remain on the commission until his term ends in six months. But from there, he tells the Mercury News: “I think there is a zero chance that Jerry Brown will appoint me, so it doesn’t matter what I think. He has his hands full with shoplifters and other thugs in the Legislature.”

Pretty morbid, right? Let this be a lesson for all trigger-happy Republicans who dare to dream of swimming against California’s blue tide: We’ll eat your grin for dinner.

09 Jun 2012

Viral Email Humor: Noah Today

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NOAH TODAY

In the year 2012, the Lord came unto Noah, Who was now living in the USA and said:

“Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me.”

“Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans.”

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying:

“You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard – but no Ark.

“Noah!,” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?”

“Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed.”

“I needed a Building Permit.”

“I’ve been arguing with the Coast Guard about the need for a sprinkler system.”

“My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the Zoning Regulations by building the Ark in my back garden and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Planning Committee for a decision.”

“Then the Town Council and the Power Company demanded a shed load of money for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.”

“Getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the Spotted Owl.”

“I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls – but no go!”

“When I started gathering the animals the SPCA took me to court. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in
a confined space.”

“Then the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.”

“I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew.”

“The Immigration and Naturalization Department is checking the Visa status of most of the people who want to work.”

“The trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience.”

“To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.”

“So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark.”

“Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.”

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?”

“No,” said the Lord, sadly.

“THE GOVERNMENT BEAT ME TO IT.”

Hat tip to John C. Meyer.

31 May 2012

Where Environmentalism Really Wants To Go

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“Darkling I listen; and, for many a time I have been half in love with easeful Death.”
— John Keats

In Mother Jones, Clive Thompson describes with relish the coercive fantasies of a variety of leftist sophisters, economists, and calculators, who theorize on the ways and means to end the growth and expansion of the human population and economy, and who yearn for stagnation and retrenchment.

What would just a world be like? Thompson quotes Peter Alan Victor, a environmental sophister at the University of Toronto and a former senior economist at the World Bank named Herman Daly.

Americans would need to scale back our energy consumption to 1960s levels (assuming we stick to a predominantly fossil-fueled economy). Victor, for his part, points out that 1983 was the last year that “the world economy was just at the level of the capacity of the planet to support it.” Since then, of course, world population has exploded and global resources have dwindled even further.

Beyond these big-picture parameters, none of the experts has really crunched the numbers to envision what daily life might be like in a no-growth world—though they agree that it’s something people had better start thinking about.

For starters, they say, Western consumption rates would need to shrink disproportionately so that citizens of countries like India and El Salvador could enjoy a lifestyle upgrade. Why? The no-growthers argue that a world with fewer yawning inequities between the rich and poor would be more stable; but quite apart from that, their models require stabilizing world population, and raising the economic lot of the poor is a proven way to do that.

Given the shift in wealth needed to accomplish this, Americans would need to turn back the clock to well before 1983; in fact, we’d be pretty lucky even to find ourselves where we were in 1960—when the median family made $35,994 in today’s dollars (versus $61,932 in 2008).

Hardly the plenitude we’re accustomed to. Still, technological advances mean that your dollar buys a lot more than it did back then. For a couple of bucks, you can score a pocket calculator that does things it once took a million-dollar university machine to accomplish. “We’re better at making things now,” Victor says, so our living standards would be considerably higher than this figure suggests.

In a no-growth economy, as Daly points out, we would still consume new stuff—just at a much slower pace. People might need to develop a renewed appreciation for durable goods that require lots of labor to make but ultimately use fewer resources than their throwaway counterparts. We would also have to evolve away from “positional” consumption—feeling good because you possess something the Joneses don’t.

So maybe hipsters won’t be buying the latest iPhone every 12 months­. Or perhaps we’ll seek more fulfillment through activities with a lighter footprint—sports, music, hiking. The vexing reality is that the no-growth thinkers simply don’t know how things would shake out. We don’t have any realistic examples to learn from, after all. In the past, the only no-growth societies were agrarian or consisted of hunter-gatherers.

But these great minds are willing and eager to take us right back there. We need only surrender the necessary authority to credentialed experts in Environmental Witch-Doctory like themselves.

Hat tip to Troy Senik.

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