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Monday, January 21, 2008

A New Environmentalist Manifesto

What might an effective environmental movement be like?

WILLisms writes what could, and should, be the philosophical basis of a new environmentalist manifesto:
I tend to think of myself as an environmentalist, but completely removed from today's movement. I reject the Marxism that pervades the modern environmental movement. On the contrary, the way we can best improve our environment is to make everyone rich enough to afford it (something that is already happening); once enough people have enough dough, they move into the next phase of human actualization. Sure, we still have to cross a few priorities off the top of the ole "to do" list, but once a critical mass of people can afford a cleaner environment, they'll go ahead and buy it.

The answer to future environmental problems will be found in the minds and efforts of entrepreneurs, who can only succeed if there are plenty of yuppies wealthy enough to afford to become early adopters for various green ideas. Sometimes I wonder how much healthier our environment would be if we had seen a GDP growth rate of just 1 or 2% higher each year, over the course of the 20th century. The U.S. could easily have a 30 or 40 trillion dollar-per-year economy, instead of a 14 trillion dollar one. Then I start thinking of how 1 or 2% each year over the next century could mean the difference of hundreds of trillions of dollars of wealth, yet how we're not always maximizing our pro-growth policies. Those hundreds of trillions in potentially-lost dollars are precisely what could produce the brilliant breakthroughs that will improve our planet.

So, to me, when I see enviro-luddites burning down homes and torching SUVs, when I see so many people transfixed on punitively taxing carbon and subsidizing allegedly better alternatives, when I see anti-intellectual hysteria over a degree Fahrenheit of global warming over a century's time, and when I see all sorts of anti-business taxes and regulations masquerading as necessary for the environment, I see a lot of negative unintended consequences. I see people standing in the way of progress. I tend to view today's collection of largest environmental interest groups, replete with anti-human population control worldview and socialist overtones, as-- at best-- neutral for the environment in the short term and terrible for the environment over the very long term.
There's a lost more to Will's post, including a comparison of air pollution levels between 1980 and 2006, but I just had to quote the above before suggesting you go here to read the rest.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:24 AM

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