Things To Help The Environment

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posted on May, 1 2005 @ 05:05 PM
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OK, it will sound cliche but i am trying to build up a list of things that all of us could do to protect/save/make less damanage/... to the environment (you pick what you want as there are so many possibilities).

The more i read the news lately and the more i realize how we do not take care of our own earth. and we can not always blame the politics because if we don't put pressure on them of course they are not going to do something that is really not worth doing (money wise!)

so let's start with ideas that we all have about little things or big things all of us could do.

i am thinking about:


  • Recycling more
  • Call your local government to have info about recylcling, if you can't find any
  • take the bus services instead of your car
  • ...


well all up to us
thanks for your help
KJules




posted on May, 1 2005 @ 05:32 PM
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10% of all electricity consumption in the U.S. is used by computers and related electronic devices. So do your part in reducing electricity use (mostly powered by fossil fuels). Environmentally aware and conscientious global citizens boycott all internet bulletin boards and forums.

People that post here are part of the problem, not the solution!!!!




And proud of it.



posted on May, 2 2005 @ 01:19 AM
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one very simple way to help the environment is to legalize marijuana. OK, perhaps this is a contentious statement for some so I'll restate it. Legalize hemp. Of course, hemp and marijuana are the same plant; cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. However, there are low THC strains, that is, strains with lower content of the psychoactive substance that gives marijuana its "high". Hemp can be used to replace trees in the production of paper; hemp paper has been used for centuries before it was demonized....high quality paper that does not require chlorine in its manufacture. Four acres of hemp can produce the same amount of paper as one acre of trees. Of course it takes twenty years or more to grow those trees while the hemp can be harvested annually. Hemp can produce fuel. Henry Ford, for example experimented with hemp fuels and was enthusiastic about its' future before being disuaded from its use as fuel by his friend Rockafeller (of Standard Oil). Of course there are other bio fuels, most notably corn, but they require fertilizers and insecticides.....hemp doesn't. In fact, growing hemp increases the fertility of the soil. Hemp is a renewable resource which can produce hundreds of products from paint to explosives. It can be used to replace plywood and other wood construction products with an end result that is often naturally fire and rot resistant. Hemp can be used to replace cotton, a crop that requires fertilizers and insecticides. As cloth, hemp can produce a soft, durable fabric. Sails and rope were both made of hemp in previous centures. In fact, Levi Strauss made their first pair of jeans from hemp. Using hemp is one way to make a real impact on the effort to safe our ecology.



posted on May, 2 2005 @ 06:40 AM
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10% of all electricity consumption in the U.S. is used by computers and related electronic devices. So do your part in reducing electricity use (mostly powered by fossil fuels). Environmentally aware and conscientious global citizens boycott all internet bulletin boards and forums.


I don't know if the electricity in the US is only mqde with fossil fuels. you have a few nucelar powerplants and i am sure that you use other sources of energy.
now about the 10%; where did you find that out? it looks very big, especially for a country like the US! but i appreciate your input as a solution, i will mark it down.



posted on May, 2 2005 @ 06:43 AM
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one very simple way to help the environment is to legalize marijuana. OK, perhaps this is a contentious statement for some so I'll restate it. Legalize hemp. Of course, hemp and marijuana are the same plant; cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. However, there are low THC strains, that is, strains with lower content of the psychoactive substance that gives marijuana its "high". ... Using hemp is one way to make a real impact on the effort to safe our ecology.


thanks for your contribution. i like your view on the world of HEMP and HUMP. hey maybe one day, but in the near future, i don't think so.

KJ1



posted on May, 2 2005 @ 12:42 PM
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Things To Help The Environment

The first and foremost thing which would help the environment is the ellimination of poverty. Its tough for people to be too concerned with the environment while starving or sick.

Second, stop planting bloody forests on beneficial grasslands! These grasslands are natural water purifiers. We have more forested land in the US now than we had 100 years ago. Its the most replenishing resource we have. What we do not have is an abundance of clean water. Not every creature in nature can thrive in forested land so lets not bite off our nose to spite our face.

Thirdly, stop trying to preserve everything! Nothing in nature is ever static. Nature is ever changing or very dynamic. For millions of years forests have been destroyed and regrown. Its when we interupt this cycle that we kill forests. When trees get so big they begin a natural death or up-rooting, its time to harvest them and re-plant.

Forth, let people who spend years being educated in forest and wildlife management do thier jobs. When they say they need to do a controlled burn of underbrush, have mature timber logged out, or enact a hunting season for population control of a species, we ought to damn well listen or face the kinds of dissasters we have recently. The funny thing is that most of the very people to blame are the ones pointing fingers at others who tried to do the educated thing. This is a science not an emotional issue.

These issues were being dealt with by professionals long before it became the cool thing to be an activist. People gripe and bitch about strip mining in my area but that they don't ever photograph is the reclaimed areas teaming with wildlife. These reclaimed areas have even provided a sanctuary for grouse, and native elk which have been re-intoduced and are thriving because of the grasslands, which were all settled 200 years ago.

When one ignorantly runs out into an area like this and begins planting trees which will mature, block out the sun and kill the grass which slows rainwater run-off, one cannot stand and wonder why our streams are silted and lower areas are proned to flash flooding.

Fifth, remove all catalytic converters from vehicles. They don't work and serve only to lower mileage and thus make us burn more fuel to go the same distance. It was a quick fix designed to appease the uneducated activist whom have caused most environmental dissasters in the last 40 years.



posted on May, 2 2005 @ 01:03 PM
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Astro, you are a true environmentalist and conservationist. Always glad to hear for ther educated.

By the way, I love it when people admonish me to use public transportation.

That'd be nice - if we had any where I live.



posted on May, 2 2005 @ 02:36 PM
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Very nice start there Astro...................here is a few more......

STOP the EPA from forcing a zillion different types of gasoline.

Stop the EPA from making large centralized generation plants for electricity, 75% of all electricity is lost in transmission from plant to user.

Build more small local nuke power plants and use the hydrogen byproduct to power fuel cells.

DO NOT build electric cars..........the net btu's used are twice that of gasoline cars and the waste product "used batteries" sucks too.





[edit on 2-5-2005 by DrHoracid]



posted on May, 2 2005 @ 03:14 PM
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Those are good points. In fact, the whole environmental standpoint about gasoline burning cars is based on the CO2 causes global warming theory of which we now have a quarter century data showing that not only isn't CO2 causing global temps to rise but the deglaciation of the past 3 centuries after the Little Ice Age is actually causing the rise in CO2. So, they got it bass akwards and still we cannot get the stupid things we did when we thought it was real..undone.

The emissions we create with smog control are far more harmful than CO2 which is natural btw.


E_T

posted on May, 3 2005 @ 01:28 PM
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Originally posted by astrocreep
Second, stop planting bloody forests on beneficial grasslands! These grasslands are natural water purifiers.
Wrong, it's right kind of ground (like moraine) which is essential to forming of ground water if you meant that.



Nothing in nature is ever static. Nature is ever changing or very dynamic. For millions of years forests have been destroyed and regrown...
When trees get so big they begin a natural death or up-rooting, its time to harvest them and re-plant.
And then you go and urge to prevent that natural cycle!
Biodiversity requires those forests with dying trees... and smaller trees grow to replace those trees which have died and fallen leading to forest where there's lot of different trees.
Only forest fires make "clean sweep" and even then it all starts again from fast growing grass, brush and trees and eventually bigger trees replace all those leading to old forest with dying trees which fall one by one and are eventually replaced by new trees. (unless forest fire "cleans table")



When one ignorantly runs out into an area like this and begins planting trees which will mature, block out the sun and kill the grass which slows rainwater run-off, one cannot stand and wonder why our streams are silted and lower areas are proned to flash flooding.
Actually trees and brushes prevent floods much more effectively. Remember that one reason why tsunami was more destructive than it should have been in many places... that was because Mangrove forests had been removed from beaches.

Also funnily erosion isn't big in rain forests which have very little grass and plants in surface. (but after those trees are destroyed erosion takes surface away completely and fast)


E_T

posted on May, 3 2005 @ 01:58 PM
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Originally posted by astrocreep
In fact, the whole environmental standpoint about gasoline burning cars is based on the CO2 causes global warming theory of which we now have a quarter century data showing that not only isn't CO2 causing global temps to rise but the deglaciation of the past 3 centuries after the Little Ice Age is actually causing the rise in CO2.

The emissions we create with smog control are far more harmful than CO2 which is natural btw.
Sure... we're living in interglacial time and bla bla bla...
But would you explain why atmosphere's CO2 concentration is way higher than inside last hundreds thousands years which has had many interglacial periods like this one in which we are living?
Inside that time CO2 amount was never above ~290 ppmv while it has risen to 370 ppmv in under 200 years (geologically insignificant time) and is rising faster than ever, literally skyrocketing.





Or is that what big industry's oil barons of your holy "drive alone in huge traffic jams with your personal tanks" religion doesn't want to explain and conveniently forget?



posted on May, 3 2005 @ 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by E_T
Wrong, it's right kind of ground (like moraine) which is essential to forming of ground water if you meant that.


Not wrong! Grasslands serve to capture rainfall, filter it and then release it gradually. This ensures a sustained supply of high quality water into the rivers.

www.panda.org.za...

Open forests grow adjacent to the grasslands where the amount of moisture available in the soil is enough to support trees as well as grasses. Grasslands and forest mix with each other, forming a mosaic and giving a parkland appearance to the landscape.




Originally posted by E_T And then you go and urge to prevent that natural cycle!
Biodiversity requires those forests with dying trees... and smaller trees grow to replace those trees which have died and fallen leading to forest where there's lot of different trees.
Only forest fires make "clean sweep" and even then it all starts again from fast growing grass, brush and trees and eventually bigger trees replace all those leading to old forest with dying trees which fall one by one and are eventually replaced by new trees. (unless forest fire "cleans table")



Not at all. The natural cycle of forest that thrive have always included human influence as there is good evidence that primitive humans on all continents periodically harvested the larger timber to allow new growth to emerge. What we do today is not new and if the logging of the last century or so was really going to wipe out forested land, then why do we have more forested land in the US today than we did 100 years ago? Its because people who know how to manage forests were in charge.




Originally posted by E_TActually trees and brushes prevent floods much more effectively. Remember that one reason why tsunami was more destructive than it should have been in many places... that was because Mangrove forests had been removed from beaches.


Yes, but we're talking about the plains not the beach. I doubt any number of any tree could have stopped that amount of water at that speed. I refer to the properties for filtering and slowing rainwater runoff. You , like most environmentilist have taken it upon yoursleves to say that means I am calling for all grassland and no forest when in reality, I am merely interested in a balance of both and EDUCATION over emotion in planning.




Originally posted by E_TAlso funnily erosion isn't big in rain forests which have very little grass and plants in surface. (but after those trees are destroyed erosion takes surface away completely and fast)


I don't know who told you that because erosion, torential mud and debris flows are commonplace in rain forests and I think you'll also find that when they are slowed, its usually by a patch of grassland.

Look at their uses in California;


Native grasses stabilize soil and improve soil quality wherever they are found. They increase water infiltration and fertility and also recycle nutrients. Their deep and fibrous roots (up to 12 feet in length) can tap deep soil water, allowing them to stay green year-round. Because of this, California native grasses are relatively inflammable and can provide low-maintenance fire buffers around residences. They also offer a long green forage season that benefits both wildlife and livestock, and can help prevent invasion by noxious alien weeds such as yellow starthistle.

Native grasses provide vital habitat to many species of insects, birds, reptiles and mammals, both small and large. Their visual texture and beauty suit them to a wide variety of residential and urban landscapes.


www.cnga.org...



posted on May, 3 2005 @ 03:17 PM
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Originally posted by E_T
Sure... we're living in interglacial time and bla bla bla...



Funny how thats all peole with an agenda hear when other evidence is presented. I think we've been making choices with our fingers in our ears long enough. Its time to realize that the poverty created by shutting down an economy is the biggest threat to the environment we face.




Originally posted by E_T

But would you explain why atmosphere's CO2 concentration is way higher than inside last hundreds thousands years which has had many interglacial periods like this one in which we are living?
Inside that time CO2 amount was never above ~290 ppmv while it has risen to 370 ppmv in under 200 years (geologically insignificant time) and is rising faster than ever, literally skyrocketing.



Way higher? Thats certainly a scientific term but being the statistics are coming from a 30 year old computer model, I guess its fitting. The real data shows no real deviation from zero over the last 25 years that we've been measuring data in the atmosphere and 7 feet above ground. The only place we have a higher reading is at ground level and those readings are only higher above asphalt surfaces. Wonder why?

Here, take a look.

www.newsweekly.com.au...




Originally posted by E_T

Or is that what big industry's oil barons of your holy "drive alone in huge traffic jams with your personal tanks" religion doesn't want to explain and conveniently forget?


Oh I could really care less what the oil barrens want or think. To me this is about putting resources in the correct places. While we're out spending fortunes developing scare tactics, people are still dumping chemicals and waste, straight piping sewer systems into streams and all because this psuedo-scientific flop has all the attention. Why can't we finally accept that it was a viable theory that needed researched, has been researched and turn attention toward real threats like polluted air, ground and water supplies? We have air quality problems unrelated to any global effect that speak very loudly for the reduction of emmions and new research to install scrubbers in power plants.

The answer is not to kill the economy because, I got news for you. the economy funds more environmental programs than poverty ever thought about. You kill transportation, you kill the economy and if you think the rich and their SUVs are the only ones who are gonna hurt, maybe you haven't realized what those trucks that supply your local grocer use for fuel.



posted on May, 3 2005 @ 03:18 PM
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astrocreep, we had a discussion on this before and the two links you provided were easily debunked, one was a ... ahem Survey with pop stars as signatories and another was a flimsy "scientific" paper that wasn't even peer reviewed.

Please provide some peer-reviewed publications to support your claim that C02 does not warm the planet up. I'm afraid the onus is on you to provide proof for your claims, which are not widely held by Climatologists, here is a good place to start

scholar.google.com...


Also Burning Hydrocarbons releases other toxic # into the air as well, or had you forgotten about that as well? People say that C02 is good for plant growth and they're right when it's JUST C02, however when you add Ozone to the mixture Crop yields Plummeted. I'll try to find the link, this was not a close labratory study but a field study done in open air and the results were pretty conclusive too.

Here are some links, I have not found the study i was looking for yet so ill continue to dig, it was an American study in case anyone was wondering..

www.ces.ncsu.edu...

archives.cnn.com...

earthobservatory.nasa.gov...

www.findarticles.com...



posted on May, 3 2005 @ 03:57 PM
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Very interesting links Sardion.



Astrocreep
The first and foremost thing which would help the environment is the ellimination of poverty. Its tough for people to be too concerned with the environment while starving or sick.

could you be more specific, because i don't see the link between poverty and the health of environment.

About the nature being static, well i have to disagree. Of course in order to evolve, the nature has to be "moving" if i can say. if a specy doesn't try to improve/change itself then there is no evolution, that is why we are supposed to be from the ape and why there is such a huge range in the species living on this planet.
BUT, what i am sure about is that there was no time in the known history of the world that so many living species have been under threat and that you can not negate it. How many tigers in the bengale have desepear? what about the coral in australia, the birds, insect and so on. if we don't do anything to maintain this evolution our grand children will be left with one kind of dog, spider, ... what a great life!

about the CO2 i can only agree with sardion. we have never proved that the CO2 was not the cause for the global warming, so i think we need to keep looking for it until we find the real solution. Although i think most of the politics know what it would be good to do for the environement but it has such a politic/economical impact that of course nobody will have the courage to do it ... until it is too late. so of course we can't kill the economy, but at least we have to try to be, as it is the fashion to say, sustainable unless we are going straight to hell. i think that as the situation we are in at the moment, well we are all doomed.

The Millenium Ecosystem Assessment has a good summary of the situation we are in at the moment. it is the last survey done by the UN by independant scientist all around the world. Link

but before starting to talk about politic, what would you do at home to try to protect the environment. the talks always go up at a very high level where usually it takes decades to decide something (look at kyoto), but at the lowest level, which is all of us what would we do? that is something that we are not aware of.

open for discussion ...



posted on May, 3 2005 @ 05:34 PM
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Originally posted by astrocreep
Things To Help The Environment...

...Second, stop planting bloody forests on beneficial grasslands! These grasslands are natural water purifiers. We have more forested land in the US now than we had 100 years ago. Its the most replenishing resource we have. What we do not have is an abundance of clean water...


Water yield is maximized with no loss in quality in a forested watershed when forest density is maintained at approximately 80% normal stocking. The 80% figure amazingly holds constant in every forest type and climate zone tested in North America.

A high density of trees actually REDUCES water yield. The crowns form a barrier to precipitation. All that snow you see hanging in the tree crowns after a storm? -- most of it evaporates (sublimates) back into the atmosphere and relatively little of it actually reaches the ground. This is why the snow pack is always higher in the forest openings than under the canopy. During spring and summer tree roots consume the soil moisture and put a lot of water back into the atmosphere through transpiration. A mature conifer in the western U.S. during the summer can easily consume 500 gallons of water per day per tree. This principal has been known for centuries. The Chinese had laws regulating the cutting of forests circa 2500 BC. The Greeks and Romans knew that cutting the trees and brush away from springs and seeps would increase flow, and any rancher in the arid west knows that too. Of course you can overcut and make things bad. The shade from the canopy slows down snowmelt and evaporation, and the litter layer and root system slow downhill flow to prevent flooding. The above mentioned research (King, et al) quantified the optimum forest density.

Southern California Edison Company, a utility, owns hundreds of thousands of acres of forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains and manages them for hydroelectric production. They have an active forest management program (read: harvesting) focusing on maximizing water yield without sacrificing water quality. Their forest program actually makes a profit for the company in addition to the water benefits, and the company has won environmental stewardship awards for their forestry program. Oddly enough, when the federal agencies attempt the same management practices on the adjacent public lands they are appealed and challenged and litigated by the environmental industry.

Timber harvesting using BMP's (Best Management Practices -- a codified system of techniques and methods) not only does not increase erosion, it can actually reduce erosion from preharvest background levels. Now the road system needed to facilitate harvesting is a different matter.... It's hard, but not impossible, to engineer forest roads to be watershed neutral.

Experts have known for years that good watershed management involves good forest management and harvesting timber. It's too bad the environmental industry is unable or unwilling to accept that fact.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 07:22 AM
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Patrick Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of the forthcoming book, Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media. Fred Singer is emeritus professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and former director of the US Weather Satellite Service. David Douglass is professor of physics at the University of Rochester.



Funny, they don't appear to be actors. I belive the actors are experts on your side of the argument.

And another link with a little more credence behind it.

cfa-www.harvard.edu...






[edit on 4-5-2005 by astrocreep]



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 07:25 AM
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There is a definet link between poverty and enviroment. Don't believe me, start in our back yards. We've heard think globally and act locally but to drive through a ritzy neaiborhood with clean well groomed lanscapes and then into an impoverished neighborhood with lawns full of garbage including half-use containers of chemicals leaking out into the soil.

Or we can look globally as well. Look to the top economy, the US who's forestry management (when it isn't interfered with by the emotional activist) provides us with unlimited forested land..even more than we had 100 years ago. Look at the advances in recycling especially water.

Now, look at Africa. Look at the village that was just 3 miles away from the big banquet the eilite held a couple years ago to discuss keeping Africa's "culture" in tact by fending off attempts to help indutrialize the country. The village in question wrought withy poverty. Kids drinking from puddles contaminated with humna and livestock excrement, just trying to find enough to eat to survive the day. How can we expect any of them to worry about the environment with such grave concerns? They don't have the wealth or technology to clean their water, manage or grow crops for food or even releive the pain of a simple toothache. Now, tell me, what kind of monster fights against these people to keep them in this situation while we live in luxury all for the sake of "preservation". I don't think we need to preserve anything. In fact preservation is a word that should have never been used when dealing with the environment.




Originally posted by kingjules
i think that as the situation we are in at the moment, well we are all doomed.




I see the scare tactic has worked. Funny how the global warming doom theory became popular after the threat of the cold war was gone. Looking at human history over time, I think this is just one more scare tactic used to control the populace. Congrats, you have fallen right in line.



[edit on 4-5-2005 by astrocreep]



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 12:14 PM
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More on the Poverty and the environment theme:

Michael Crichton
"Speech by Michael Crichton on the Environmental Movement"
Remarks to the Commonwealth Club by Michael Crichton best selling author of the Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park,
Terminal Man, Time Line and the The Great Train Robbery.
San Francisco
September 15, 2003

The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin
in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a
nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking.

Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does. It's all talk-and as the years go on, and the
world population grows increasingly urban, it's uninformed talk. Farmers know what they're talking about. City people don't.

It's all fantasy.

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a
fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy,
truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or
as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good,
whether the problems we're told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the
world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part
generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In
short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and
which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

As an example of this challenge, I want to talk today about environmentalism. And in order not to be misunderstood,
I want it perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to conduct our lives in a way that takes into account
all the consequences of our actions, including the consequences to other people, and the consequences to the
environment. I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the environment, and I believe this
will always be a need, carrying into the future. I believe the world has genuine problems and I believe it can and
should be improved.

But I also think that deciding what constitutes responsible action is immensely difficult, and the consequences of
our actions are often difficult to know in advance. I think our past record of environmental action is discouraging,
to put it mildly, because even our best intended efforts often go awry. But I think we do not recognize our past
failures, and face them squarely. And I think I know why.

I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always
reappear. They can't be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a
secular society in which many people---the best people, the most enlightened people---do not believe in any
religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form,
it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that
gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the
religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look
carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian
beliefs and myths.

There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state
of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment
day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called
sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion,
that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday---these are deeply held mythic structures. They are
profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don't want to
talk anybody out of them, as I don't want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who
rose from the dead. But the reason I don't want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can't
talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of
environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are
going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of
us, or one of them.

Am I exaggerating to make a point? I am afraid not. Because we know a lot more about the world than we did forty or
fifty years ago. And what we know now is not so supportive of certain core environmental myths, yet the myths do not
die. Let's examine some of those beliefs.

There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant
mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in
childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the
planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never
did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out
hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up, to
accelerate the process. And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly: the early peoples
of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. Generations of hatred, tribal hatreds, constant battles. The
warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of
them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated,
or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety.

How about the human condition in the rest of the world? The Maori of New Zealand committed massacres regularly. The
dyaks of Borneo were headhunters. The Polynesians, living in an environment as close to paradise as one can imagine,
fought constantly, and created a society so hideously restrictive that you could lose your life if you stepped in
the footprint of a chief. It was the Polynesians who gave us the very concept of taboo, as well as the word itself.
The noble savage is a fantasy, and it was never true. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after Rousseau, shows
the tenacity of religious myths, their ability to hang on in the face of centuries of factual contradiction.

There was even an academic movement, during the latter 20th century, that claimed that cannibalism was a white man's
invention to demonize the indigenous peoples. (Only academics could fight such a battle.) It was some thirty years
before professors finally agreed that yes, cannibalism does indeed occur among human beings. Meanwhile, all during
this time New Guinea highlanders in the 20th century continued to eat the brains of their enemies until they were
finally made to understand that they risked kuru, a fatal neurological disease, when they did so.

More recently still the gentle Tasaday of the Philippines turned out to be a publicity stunt, a nonexistent tribe.
And African pygmies have one of the highest murder rates on the planet.

In short, the romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual
experience of nature. People who live in nature are not romantic about it at all. They may hold spiritual beliefs
about the world around them, they may have a sense of the unity of nature or the aliveness of all things, but they
still kill the animals and uproot the plants in order to eat, to live. If they don't, they will die.

And if you, even now, put yourself in nature even for a matter of days, you will quickly be disabused of all your
romantic fantasies. Take a trek through the jungles of Borneo, and in short order you will have festering sores on
your skin, you'll have bugs all over your body, biting in your hair, crawling up your nose and into your ears,
you'll have infections and sickness and if you're not with somebody who knows what they're doing, you'll quickly
starve to death. But chances are that even in the jungles of Borneo you won't experience nature so directly, because
you will have covered your entire body with DEET and you will be doing everything you can to keep those bugs off
you.

The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin
in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a
nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in
any real way, and nobody does. It's all talk-and as the years go on, and the world population grows increasingly
urban, it's uninformed talk. Farmers know what they're talking about. City people don't. It's all fantasy.

One way to measure the prevalence of fantasy is to note the number of people who die because they haven't the least
knowledge of how nature really is. They stand beside wild animals, like buffalo, for a picture and get trampled to
death; they climb a mountain in dicey weather without proper gear, and freeze to death. They drown in the surf on
holiday because they can't conceive the real power of what we blithely call "the force of nature." They have seen
the ocean. But they haven't been in it.

The television generation expects nature to act the way they want it to be. They think all life experiences can be
tivo-ed. The notion that the natural world obeys its own rules and doesn't give a damn about your expectations comes
as a massive shock. Well-to-do, educated people in an urban environment experience the ability to fashion their
daily lives as they wish. They buy clothes that suit their taste, and decorate their apartments as they wish. Within
limits, they can contrive a daily urban world that pleases them.

But the natural world is not so malleable. On the contrary, it will demand that you adapt to it-and if you don't,
you die. It is a harsh, powerful, and unforgiving world, that most urban westerners have never experienced.

Many years ago I was trekking in the Karakorum mountains of northern Pakistan, when my group came to a river that we
had to cross. It was a glacial river, freezing cold, and it was running very fast, but it wasn't deep---maybe three
feet at most. My guide set out ropes for people to hold as they crossed the river, and everybody proceeded, one at a
time, with extreme care. I asked the guide what was the big deal about crossing a three-foot river. He said, well,
supposing you fell and suffered a compound fracture. We were now four days trek from the last big town, where there
was a radio. Even if the guide went back double time to get help, it'd still be at least three days before he could
return with a helicopter. If a helicopter were available at all. And in three days, I'd probably be dead from my
injuries. So that was why everybody was crossing carefully. Because out in nature a little slip could be deadly.

But let's return to religion. If Eden is a fantasy that never existed, and mankind wasn't ever noble and kind and
loving, if we didn't fall from grace, then what about the rest of the religious tenets? What about salvation,
sustainability, and judgment day? What about the coming environmental doom from fossil fuels and global warming, if
we all don't get down on our knees and conserve every day?

Well, it's interesting. You may have noticed that something has been left off the doomsday list, lately. Although
the preachers of environmentalism have been yelling about population for fifty years, over the last decade world
population seems to be taking an unexpected turn. Fertility rates are falling almost everywhere. As a result, over
the course of my lifetime the thoughtful predictions for total world population have gone from a high of 20 billion,
to 15 billion, to 11 billion (which was the UN estimate around 1990) to now 9 billion, and soon, perhaps less. There
are some who think that world population will peak in 2050 and then start to decline. There are some who predict we
will have fewer people in 2100 than we do today. Is this a reason to rejoice, to say halleluiah? Certainly not.
Without a pause, we now hear about the coming crisis of world economy from a shrinking population. We hear about the
impending crisis of an aging population. Nobody anywhere will say that the core fears expressed for most of my life
have turned out not to be true. As we have moved into the future, these doomsday visions vanished, like a mirage in
the desert. They were never there---though they still appear, in the future. As mirages do.

Okay, so, the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they're human. So what. Unfortunately, it's
not just one prediction. It's a whole slew of them. We are running out of oil. We are running out of all natural
resources. Paul Ehrlich: 60 million Americans will die of starvation in the 1980s. Forty thousand species become
extinct every year. Half of all species on the planet will be extinct by 2000. And on and on and on.

With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if
it's a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn't
quit when the world doesn't end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and
goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by
facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.

So I can tell you some facts. I know you haven't read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because
newspapers literally don't report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die
and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn't carcinogenic and
banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly
children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that
promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the
third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We
knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn't give a damn.

I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known
it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can
tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can
tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a
blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the
rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new
technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would
be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could
control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong.

I can, with a lot of time, give you the factual basis for these views, and I can cite the appropriate journal
articles not in whacko magazines, but in the most prestigeous science journals, such as Science and Nature. But such
references probably won't impact more than a handful of you, because the beliefs of a religion are not dependant on
facts, but rather are matters of faith. Unshakeable belief.

Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the
problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of
thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good. On the contrary,
they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they
want to help you to see things the right way. They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally
uninterested in opposing points of view. In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its
rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.

I want to argue that it is now time for us to make a major shift in our thinking about the environment, similar to
the shift that occurred around the first Earth Day in 1970, when this awareness was first heightened. But this time
around, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we
need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism.

First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a
religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere
between 10-30 million people since the 1970s. It's not a good record. Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based
in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be
apolitical. To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or
another is to miss the cold truth---that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in
pandering rhetoric. The effort to promote effective legislation for the environment is not helped by thinking that
the Democrats will save us and the Republicans won't. Political history is more complicated than that. Never forget
which president started the EPA: Richard Nixon. And never forget which president sold federal oil leases, allowing
oil drilling in Santa Barbara: Lyndon Johnson. So get politics out of your thinking about the environment.

The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Religions think they know it all, but the
unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually
are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief
system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is
humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests
will never recover. We need to be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to
be trying various methods of accomplishing things. We need to be open-minded about assessing results of our efforts,
and we need to be flexible about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.

How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion, and back to a scientific discipline?
There's a simple answer: we must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the
environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren't true. It isn't that
these "facts" are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case
to present it in the strongest way. Not at all---what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure
and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false.

This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day. At this moment, the EPA is hopelessly
politicized. In the wake of Carol Browner, it is probably better to shut it down and start over. What we need is a
new organization much closer to the FDA. We need an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable
results, that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, and that will make everybody in this
field get honest fast.

Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized,
then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices,
transmitted to people who don't know any better. That's not a good future for the human race. That's our past. So
it's time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our
public policy decisions firmly on that.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 12:24 PM
link   
Hey dave, although I thoroughly appreciate the contribution and agree whole-heartedly, I need to ask if was neccesary to post the entire article?

Being a new member, you may not be familiar with the practice of linking the source and providing a couple paragraphs to interest people in looking at the whole thing. If this is, however, something you have and have other way to get us the info, please inform us it was neccesary to paste the entire article. Otherwise, please use the "edit" button at the top of your post and paste a link and a couple good paragraphs.
If you need assistance, please use the U2U function as address it to any one of the mods listed on the index page for this forum and I'm sure they will help you fix your post.



Edit, U2u from dave_54.

from: dave_54
sent: 4-5-2005 at 11:28 AM
Yeah, I knew it was long. But I only have the speech soft copy on a CD and didn't have a link to a web source.



Thanks dave_54 for clearing that up so fast.


[edit on 4-5-2005 by astrocreep]





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