Saturday, November 24, 2007

Environmentalists Revisited, or, Out of Sight, Out of Mind

...Actually, I suppose environmentalists do care about birds, in the abstract. It is just that they care a lot less about birds than they do about making political statements and being in the limelight. I am sure the architects, builders and the big heads of this university sat for hundreds of publicity photos and had hours of interviews taken singing praises of how wonderfully caring they all are....

In a recent post I wrote the above, but I realise on rereading it I made an error. I stated that environmentalists care about birds in the abstract, but I should have said in the concrete. Environmentalists in my experience are deeply caring and empathetic people. They do care when they see a dead or injured animal, or when the see or hear of hunters shooting animals. The sight or memory of blood and death shocks them deeply. And honestly, I believe.

But this does not outweigh their other interests. Out of sight, out of mind. They don't let one principle stand in the way of their political aims. They want what they want, and no animal will stand in the way.

They want people to stop hunting, trapping, wearing fur, drilling for oil. Their concerns are for peoples' behavior, not animal welfare specifically. Thus we see domesticated fur animals like minks released from cages en mass, where they immediately start fighting, killing and eating each other, and the few survivors quickly starve to death because they don't know how to hunt.

This calls to my mind a street preacher who used to come on campus and yell bible verses at the girls who were not wearing enough clothing to suit him. The physical manifestation of 'sin' worried him quite a lot. He seemed less interested in the spiritual welfare of of the girls.

Environmentalists, some of them anyway, are the new Puritans. They know that they run over little animals every day in their cars, but don't stop driving. They don't stop to look at the dead.

They know that oil wells in third world countries cause a lot more environmental harm than anything in the US, but they don't allow new drilling in the US. They don't travel to Nigeria or Venezuala to protest oil drilling.

Instead they fly to Bali or Rio to attend global warming seminars.

Do what is fun, easy. Go where it is pretty and 'protest' then come home all warm and fuzzy because you 'did your part'.

Remember the Puritans? The Salem witch trials? One funny historical tidbit is that the people who confessed to being witches were not killed. They confessed their sins, repented and were readmitted to society. Only those who refused to 'admit' to being witches, under torture and threat of death, were killed.

Hard environmentalists are Puritans. They want confession and repentance, freedom from environmental sins. They threaten death for those who refuse to confess (literal, not figurative death).

I suppose I am not green enough to escape. Even though I drive a small car, limit my water use so my family never uses enough water to owe more than the minimum required charge. We recycle everything and never throw away food. We limit driving to the minimum and I do all the shopping on my way to and from work.

In fact, for the first 45 years of my life I didn't even own a car. I took a bike or public transportation everywhere. I grow a lot of our food in my big garden. I don't burn leaves but compost them. We use a rake, not a leaf blower. We keep the temperature down in our house to 60 in the winter, and never use the air conditioning in the summer. We do a lot of other things to cut energy and eliminate waste.

But we don't do these things for the right reasons. We do them because our income is low, not specifically to 'save' the environment. I could challenge any environmentalist to a contest, but I doubt few could beat me unless he lived like the Una-Bomber.

But unless I confess my sins and believe, I am lost to the environmental Puritans.

Sorry, I already have a religion. I don't need yours.

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