Monday, January 12, 2009

Environmental Footprints and Starving Children

>There is a direct correlation--economically wrong and morally evil--between "green" as a moral concept, and a parent scolding a child to eat all the food on his plate "because somewhere in the world another person is starving."<

Just last Friday, on January 9, I wrote about the inconvenient truth of politically motivated environmentalism, specifically about the global warming issue: that the 10,000 year cycle of the interglacial period may end within our lifetimes and is not up to us, so we may find ourselves in a new ice age within the next fifty years. All current evidence points to this inconvenient truth.

Now, about politically motivated environmentalism it seems I have some good backing.

On the same day I published my blog, in an op-ed in the Washington Times author Keith Lockitch, PhD in physics and a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, wrote that "the more 'eco-friendly' you try to become, the more likely you find yourself confused and frustrated by the green message."

He begins by demonstrating that by saving energy by using fluorescents exposes you to the possibility of mercury poisoning if you break one. Incandescents don't contain mercury. Besides that, he points out, incandescents are "bright and cheery" while the energy-savers are gloomy-but-efficient.

Because of the mercury, those fluorescents must be taken to the proper recycling centers for disposal. There is mercury in almost all our electronics, and our landfills are beginning to reek of them. Because of the radioactivity of smoke alarms, they too must be disposed of properly, so I took two old ones to my local fire department, which told me the only place in the county that collected them was a half hour drive away. My gasoline, over $4 a gallon then, and my time, were worth more to me than two little radioactive smoke alarms. With the blessing of the fire department I threw them in the garbage.

Another example Lockitch gives is that trying to free up landfill space "by foregoing the ease and convenience of disposable diapers" only condemns you to being criticized for "the huge quantities of energy and water consumed in laundering those nasty cloth diapers."

"Why is it," he asks, "that no matter what sacrifices you make to try to reduce your 'environmental footprint,' it never seems to be enough? ...the size of your 'footprint' is the measure of your guilt. Nature [to many environmentalists] is something to be left alone to be preserved untouched by human activity [and] the green concept of an 'environmental footprint' implies that you should feel guilty for your very existence."

There is a direct correlation between Lockitch's observation of what "green" means as a moral concept of guilt, and what it means when a parent scolds a child to eat all the food on his plate "because somewhere in the world another person is starving." The child is made to feel guilt, when in fact capitalism teaches us that the food on the child's plate whether eaten or not helps make it more possible to feed the starving, because the more food produced and purchased in capitalist nations makes for bigger profits, and all philanthropy such as UNICEF and other international programs comes only from those with the earned profits to donate.

Food producers and processors do make such philanthropic donations, and the United States buys much of the excess food to send to starving nations. Capitalism produces "Gross National Product, the total value added from domestic and foreign sources claimed by residents of a country. In other words it is GDP (Gross Domestic Product,) plus net income received by residents from non-resident sources. GNP/capita is the total divided by the number of people in the country. In other words, GNP/capita is a measure of national income per person."

History has shown that the larger the GNP/capital, the larger charitable contributions become. Only until recently, beginning with 9/11 and escalating more with Hurricane Katrina, the record for charitable per capital giving was before the introduction of the income tax. That tax gave Americans the well-earned privilege to feel that if their money was going to be taken for what amounted to government charity, private charity was little needed.

Investigating why each of us has an environmental footprint in the first place, as Lockitch suggests we do, means you may also consider in the same light why one child has food and another does not.

"Everything we do to sustain our lives has an impact on nature," Lockitch makes clear. "Every value we create to advance our well-being, every ounce of food we grow, every structure we build, every iPhone we manufacture is produced by extracting raw materials and reshaping them to serve our needs. Every good thing in our lives comes from altering nature for our own benefit."

As does the GDP and the GNP.

As I wrote on Saturday the 10th--coincidentally to Lockitch's op-ed and my blogs of the 9th and of today--typical of environmental organizations that are more political than they are objective are such phrases within their mission statements as, "...people’s environmental rights include access to the unspoiled natural resources that enable survival such as land, shelter, food, water and air."

To grow food we must "spoil" the natural resources of our land by tilling, fertilizing, weeding, controlling pests, seeding and then harvesting, using large, un-green machinery to do all that.

We must cut down forests to build "shelter." But the U.S. Forestry Service reports that "Forest area [in the U.S.] has been relatively stable since 1907. In 1997, 302 million hectares—or 33 percent of the total land area of the United States—was in forest land."

Yet, population growth in this country has been literally 100% between the years 1900 and 2000, from 16.3 million, to 32.7 million persons. Perhaps the left-wing green groups who will not let us feel good one way or the other about doing our part for the environment as each of us understands it is because they don't wish to admit that along with the desire to make profits on one's capital comes the need to do it more efficiently. Despite the doubling of our population, our forest footprint has remained the same.

The source quoted above for population growth is one such leftist organization. "[T]his population boom was almost entirely engineered by federal-forced-growth policies..." it states! Nothing is said by that organization about the great feats of technology that allowed more people to be fed with less effort while eating more of it. Nothing is said about the great highways and the boom in the auto industry that allowed Americans to begin moving all over the nation. Nothing is said about the great leaps in medicine that increased life-span expectancy by 30%. Nothing is said about the huge leaps in life expectancy in third world nations, made possible by those technological great leaps made in new-world nations.

The $100 "Laptop for Every Child" computer that is both literally and environmentally green is one of those leaps. It is expected to change the lives of all the third world children to whom it is given, by making them more literate, catching them up to the rest of the world, thereby giving them the knowledge base--at their fingertips--to sustain their own world. Nothing is said by that far-left organization to the effect that without the footprint of the western world, we could not change the footprint of the third world.

And nothing is said about the political attrocities committed against those growing third world nations by the socialistic or fascistic economic policies of their own government, policies that actually prevent those starving people from creating their own environmental footprints.

Instead, the increase is blamed on an increase in immigration. "Native fertility," it says, "has been below the replacement level since 1972." This was the year of the sci-fi movie called Zero Population Growth, when: "In the not too distant future, a very smoggy and overpopulated Earth government makes it illegal to have children for a generation..."

Americans seriously took the idea of ZPG, "a condition of demographic balance where the number of people in a specified population neither grows nor declines, considered as a social aim," and thus our "native fertility" fell.

If the rate in immigration had not increased as fast as it did, China might have become economically larger than the U.S. two decades ago, and with shrinking markets in this country prices on good would have gone up because the number of products and of each product manufactured would have gone down. Increasing production reduces costs, thereby reducing the manufacturing "footprint" per capita.

And the increase in immigration rates kept social security from running out of money sooner. If American's had not taken so strongly to ZPG, (another leftist environmental idea about footprints before "footprint" was a concept we all understood,) perhaps the generations of our children and grandchildren would be large enough to pay for the social security forcibly removed by government from our paychecks, and perhaps big, bad immigration rates would not have climbed.

"From the perspective of human life and happiness, a big 'environmental footprint' is an enormous positive," Lockitch says. "This is why people in India and China are striving to increase theirs: to build better roads, more cars and computers, new factories and power plants and hospitals." [emphasis added]

"The only way to leave no "footprint" would be to die," Lockitch says, "a conclusion that is not lost on many green ideologues." In my blog of the 9th I wrote about how Keanu Reeve's new version of "The Day Earth Stood Still" sends him to Earth with the mission of destroying all human life, so that we don't harm our planet any more than the aliens believe we have.
And now, as of yesterday, January 11th, we discover--can you believe--"that your websurfing has an impact on the environment? Would you be surprised to know that it contributes to a greater global carbon footprint than the whole of the aviation industry?" TimesOnline
What about the carbon footprint of the newspaper industry being replaced by the web: at the height of newspapers' heyday, was it larger per capita than the internet is per capita? Much larger, because printing presses use more electricty per capita than do computers.
Lockitch tells us to "Consider the premise of the nonfiction bestseller titled 'The World Without Us,' which fantasizes about how the earth would 'recover' if all humanity suddenly became extinct. Or, consider the chilling, anti-human conclusion of an op-ed discussing cloth versus disposable diapers: 'From the earth's point of view, it's not all that important which kind of diapers you use. The important decision was having the baby.' The next time you trustingly adopt a 'green solution' like fluorescent lights, cloth diapers or wind farms, only to be puzzled when met with still further condemnation and calls for even more sacrifices, remember what counts as a final solution for these ideologues."

"It is time," Lockitch writes, "to recognize environmentalism as a philosophy of guilt and sacrifice and to reject it in favor of a philosophy that proudly upholds the value of human life." [emphasis added] Copyright 2009 The Washington Times, LLC

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