Today is Earth Day, and while I normally don’t get too wound up about it, I thought that it was fitting to consider the amount of propaganda that is spewed every year about this time.
The first bit of propaganda that is spread is that our planet is dying. Now I am not going to hide my head in the sand and deny that there are some changes happening in our environment, however, those changes, according to many scientific minds, are the natural cyclical changes we should expect in our climate. The earth has been on a gradual and steady warming phase for the last 10,000 to 15,000 years, so it should come as no surprise that the climatological data shows the earth is indeed getting warmer. The debate, hotly contested on both sides of the aisle is whether this is man-made or natural. The recent move by the man-made camp is that while people didn’t cause it, they are exacerbating it through the release of greenhouse gasses.
I don’t know if people are compounding the problem or not, but I do know that climate change is inevitable and that this climate will surely continue to change and eventually the global temperatures will cool. We will then be in the downward movement of the temperatures and the same folks who decried the warming, will turn into the alarmists of tomorrow. Global cooling and the next ice age will be the battle cry of the easily influenced and the past history of the global warming trend will be forgotten.
I am not a total jerk when it comes to the environment, but the next issue that really gets under my skin is the constant bombardment we are subjected to about being “green”. According to one website, it is very difficult to define and that difficulty is what makes me wonder about the mass marketing of “green” products. Are they truly green? Consider item 1b on the previously mentioned website. If the product contains post consumer recycled material, it can be considered as green although there is no requirement for the percentage of recycled content. Theoretically you could have a product with 1% recycled content and it could be considered green. Of course the preceding article states that it is best to use post-consumer content as that is diverted from landfills. This of course is a smart thing, landfills are a blight on the landscape and our communities must do a better job of managing the waste stream, the interesting thing here is that automobiles are nearly 50% post-consumer recycled material, yet no “green” consumer would consider them green. Even if you factor in the 98% recycle rate of automobiles, it still doesn’t muster enough strength to be labeled green. This of course is due to the fact that they burn fuel derived from oil, and oil is not considered a green product. The only way, according to some folks, to build a green automobile is to make it zero emission, but then this is more about personal driving habits than the product.
I don’t know who thought up the idea or who gets to decide what constitutes being green but I would like to ask them to explain how they arrive at what being green means and how they derive the green label for products we buy everyday.
The next thing, and this is a huge one, is the indoctrination of our youth and the fear instilled in them by our government schools. The majority of school children today have been bombarded by the fear-mongering crowd with visions of a post-apocalyptic world reminiscent of Mad Max or Wall-E. While these things presumably could happen, the likelihood of this happening is very remote and the things that our children should have a healthy fear of are being minimized and in many cases forgotten completely. There are many more important social issues that must be addressed and while I think we should preserve our environment, it shouldn’t be the entire focus of our daily lives.
In conclusion, the real problem is that we have very limited data on which we base dire predictions. The cataclysmic downfall of modern society due to failed social and economic policies are far more dangerous to our civilization that the amount of carbon dioxide we emit naturally in our day to day lives. The interesting thing here is that man and the earth live in a symbiotic relationship. The carbon dioxide we create is used by plants and the oxygen created by plants is used by people. It has been estimated that the increase of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will spur the growth of vegetation and subsequently seek the natural balance of what is beneficial for both man and plants. We just have to be smart about how we manage these resources. The US has consistently done that and with the exception of large cities like Los Angeles and New York. Further, I suspect the average person is significantly more green than the self-righteous folks who think that paying a carbon tax somehow works the same as offering penance for past sins. So, if you are a true advocate of green policy, please refrain from seeking absolution through self-denigration and stone throwing, else you may just get your wish and to coin a phrase, “keep your solution, by losing your situation”.