Thoughts Regarding Earth Day

I don’t intend to speak much about this, because I generally consider it tiresome. But I did feel the need to say a few things about the subject of Earth Day.

Personally, I am somewhat perturbed by the fervor of the environmental movement.

I find it frightening, distasteful, and not too different from most fundamentalist religious sects. It’s either live this way, do this and do that. Otherwise, if you don’t live according to its ways, you’re a threat to the Earth: the all-powerful, all-wise Mother Nature, or Gaia.

Not unlike most of the denominations of the Christian religion. You must live according to His (or Savior, or Messiah, or Yahweh) word. If you do not, you’re scrutinized, judged and outcast.

Now before you begin to lambaste me for grossly generalizing an entire movement, please understand that it is not my intention to criticize those that deem it of value to not be wasteful. I think it’s perfectly beneficial- and sane- to buy reusable grocery bags, take sub-30 minute showers, and to take part in composting. These activities make sense. Doing so, you’re not wasting paper, you’re saving money on your water bill, and you can rejuvenate your garden with nutrient-rich soil.

However, simply because I consider these activities to be of value and to make sense, doesn’t mean that another individual should. And this is where, ultimately, I have an issue with the environmental movement.

Two points:
Firstly, it’s akin to religion. You must act a certain way. You must perform a specific duty. If you don’t, you are the enemy, in opposition to the Earth and all of its natural abundance. Whether it’s claiming you must buy local, be in opposition to vaccinating your children, or conserving in such a way as to live a life of impoverishment, the message is clear: join us or feel our fluffy, green, eco-friendly wrath. To them, it is moral to be green.

Secondly, they think that if you live as an environmentally-friendly individual, the choices you make are of value regardless of their end result. That is, they consider it a moral/value in and of itself, independent of the benefits you, individually, receive from those decisions. As they see it, it is moral, or of value, to buy fresh food from local farmers. But not because you like the taste of the fruit better, or you feel it benefits your community. To them, it is of value regardless of these benefits (reminder: I am speaking of the deeply environmental).

On the other hand, I may buy a Fuji apple from Jim’s Farm Supply(*). Jim’s may have the crispiest, freshest, best-tasting apples I can find. And it’s for these precise reasons I would purchase from Jim. It is of value to me because I am bringing home the tastiest apples I’ve encountered across Southern California. I am benefiting from this because I love Fuji apples. My fiance may benefit from this because they are the tastiest apples I’ve encountered across Southern California. My physical health benefits from this because, which may likely be the case, I will continue to eat the apples, and be inspired to visit Jim’s Farm Supply more often.

So when Earth Day comes about every year, these musings occupy my brain. While I will remain generally conscious not to be wasteful and consider the economic consequences of my decisions, I don’t foresee any environmentalism in my future. Most of it (not all, but most) seems to be in opposition to the progress and development that is essential to life as we know it. Most of it (not all, but most) seems to fail when faced with even the slightest bit of scientific evidence, or scrutiny. Most of it (not all, but most) seems to be less of a realistic, life-enhancing value, and more of a religious ideology.

Read about the unseen and the seen, Bastiat’s principle at work in the environmentalist movement here (think about it- if you buy cloth diapers, aren’t you using water to wash said diaper? water you wouldn’t have necessarily used before?)

Also, Michael Crichton’s speech Environmentalism as Religion.

*Jim’s Farm Supply is fictional, used as an instructional tool

Note: Wow, this became more than just a “few thoughts”

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