Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

Archive for the ‘money fetishism’ Category

Growthmania – a status update

with 4 comments

In The Road to Hell (1989), Chris Rea questioned where our growth-obsessed country – with its often over-congested and gridlocked road network was headed. If he were writing this song today, I feel confident he would incorporate into it questions regarding the unsustainable way in which humanity is currently using the Earth’s non-renewable resources – including minerals and energy – and the inequitous distribution of access to all resources (renewable and non-renewable alike); particularly clean fresh water (undervalued and wasted in developed countries – and highly-prized if not yet fought over in the rest of the World).

We have had globalised Capitalism for a few decades now and, one thing seems certain, the “trickle down effect” so beloved of messrs Reagan and Thatcher was a cruel myth; just as was the “arbeit macht frei”-style Utopia espoused by Marx, Lenin and Stalin and Co.. Furthermore, while engaging in a bit of anti-Marxist rhetoric, let’s clear up one thing: Karl Marx may have denounced Capitalism for being money fetishism but:
Marxism = Growthmania minus Capitalism. End of story.

I will leave the rest to Chris. Enjoy.

Written by Martin Lack

5 May 2012 at 00:02

The Greatest Lie Ever Told

with 26 comments

Apart from a hat-tip in the direction of one of the most epic films ever made (i.e. The Greatest Story Ever Told [1965]), and my wishing all readers a Happy Easter (or to be entirely politically-correct, a ‘joyous Spring Equinox festival of renewal’), this post has very little to do with Christianity…

In centuries long past, if you upset someone in China they might well have cursed you by saying, “May you live in interesting times” and to be sure, today, we do indeed live in interesting times. These are Strange Days on Planet Earth (National Geographic).

600 years ago it was the Church of Rome that was doing all the lying and obfuscation and, if books had then been invented, they would have been burning them. Then along came the Enlightenment, seeking to rid humanity of mysticism and supposedly-irrational explanations for anything; and instead to explain everything in scientific terms. Of course the great irony of this was that, building on the wisdom of ancient Greek and Chinese thinkers – and the amazing early maths of medieval Muslim scholars – the success of this anti-irrational crusade was facilitated by the Christian belief in a rational God and, therefore, a rational Universe.

Thus, although we have much for which we should be grateful to the Enlightenment, this does not include the fact that it bequeathed to posterity the belief that human beings are superior to nature (rather than being part of it). Was this the greatest lie ever told? I think not; and for two reasons: It was not a lie; and it was never told. It was an erroneous consequence of an intellectual assumption about the way the World is: It was an error in reasoning; a fallacy.

History is full of fallacies. Take the various fallacies built upon the work of Charles Darwin: Darwin is one of the most influential scientists that ever lived; and his life’s work – to explain the consequences of his thinking about his observations of nature for our understanding of our place in it – has been misrepresented in many different ways: As well as being vilified by those that felt threatened by him, Darwin’s ideas have been abused and misused to justify all sorts of bad ideas from Marxism to Fascism; and from the Meritocracy of modern-day USA to global laissez-faire Capitalism. But, are any of these things the greatest lie ever told? No, I don’t think so…

In the second half of the 20th Century, humans seemed to finally realise that killing people in large numbers (as part of military conflict) was probably best avoided; and so was founded the United Nations and what would later become the European Union. By virtuous pursuit of international co-operation, may be now global peace and security could be realised? Unfortunately, global laissez-faire Capitalism, which John Gray has suggested was “[a]lways a utopian project” (i.e. in False Dawn: The delusions of global capitalism, [2009: xiv]), was doomed to failure because of the fallacious thinking it inherited from the Enlightenment: This allowed money fetishism to take hold and, with profit elevated from a means-to-an-end up to an-end-in-itself, human beings were bound to exploit nature without mercy (i.e. “mistake nature’s capital for a source of income” [E. F. Schumacher]; and/or “treat the Earth as a business in liquidation” [Herman E. Daly]); and to refuse to listen to anyone that said it has inherent or intrinsic value – let alone anyone that says nature has a right to exist… Were the fallacies identified by Schumacher or Daly the greatest lie ever told? No, I don’t think so…

However, the greatest lie ever told has a strong pedigree; a bit like the British Empire: Here in the UK, the BBC recently screened a 5-part series on the latter presented by Jeremy Paxman. As he tends to do when interviewing people, Paxman pulled no punches with our Imperialist past either; privateering (i.e. government-sanctioned piracy and theft); the slave trade, the opium wars, the suppression of any and all opposition to British rule – it was all recounted in excruciating detail… The British Empire undoubtedly did a lot of good to an awful lot of people; but it also abused its position and ultimately outlived its usefulness: Thus, we had to be forced to relinquish it, piece-by-piece, bit-by-bit. So, was “Britannia Rules the Waves” the greatest lie ever told? No, I don’t think so.

However, driven by greed – and the idolisation of the notion of free trade – the British Empire became the greatest exponent of corporate lies, hypocrisy, and double-standards the World had seen and – as such – I would argue has been the inspiration for all multi-national businesses that have since copied its modus operandi. As a result, in the service of their god of profit, we have been lied to by these business people repeatedly for over 100 years and been variously told that:

Heroin addiction is socially acceptable.
Smoking cigarettes is sophisticated.
The Titanic is unsinkable.
The War will be over by Christmas.
Things can only get better.
Hitler is not dangerous.
Smoking is not harmful.
Organic pesticides are more effective than natural predators.
You’ve never had it so good.
Organic pesticides are safe.
Population growth is not a problem.
Famine and starvation are a thing of the past.
Limits to growth do not exist.
Mutually assured destruction is a sensible military strategy.
Smoking does not cause cancer.
The hole in the ozone layer is not there.
CFCs aren’t causing the hole in the ozone layer.
Acid rain does not exist.
We are not causing acid rain.
We can’t afford to prevent acid rain.
Passive smoking is not dangerous.

But are any of these the greatest lie ever told? No, I don’t think so.

However, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism across Eastern Europe, and the disintegration of the former USSR, it was then that the lie was forced upon the public consciousness with single-minded determination. Although conceived as a reaction to supposedly “liberal-minded nonsense” spouted in the late sixties and early seventies by supposedly subversive academics (even those whose work was funded by plutocrats like The Club of Rome), it suddenly became possible to convince people, in the absence of any other enemy, that those who espouse concern for the environment are Communists in disguise (or “Watermelons” as James Delingpole likes to call them) – this is the greatest lie ever told.

However, this lie is rarely explicitly stated: Far more often it is dressed-up and/or made to seem more reasonable by claims that humanity is too insignificant to affect our climate; the climate will not change faster than we can adapt to it; we are not causing the climate to change; we cannot afford to prevent climate change; and/or climate change has stopped.

In effect, all such claims can be replaced with one: Environmental “alarmists” are just “crying wolf”. In the face of complex science and supposedly-conflicting truth claims, this is a very seductive reason for doing nothing: It is a very convenient and facile argument used by those whose sole aim is to prevent effective action being taken to regulate their business activities – those who prioritise their freedom to make a short-term profit over the long-term interests of the Environment; and what is in the interests of the long-term habitability of planet Earth. However, with my thanks to Jules B. for pointing this out to me, to accept this one must forget that, in the fairy-tale, the wolf eventually turns up!

—————————-

See also: To all those who say [CAGW/ACD] is junk science (4 October 2011).

The seven woes of the Tea Party

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Rick Santorum recently suggested that climate scientists are like Pharisees but, as many others have pointed out – as they always were and will be – the real Pharisees today are ultra Conservative politicians! As such, by uttering such an absurdity/insanity/obscenity [delete any that do not apply], Santorum has plumbed new depths of reality inversion.

I appreciate that fools like Santorum make an easy target but, please, can we attack the psuedo science without attacking the misguided Churchianity that people like Santorum hide their anti-intellectualism behind? I think all such denialism is not actually driven by any real faith in God that these people may have (apart from an almost subconscious ascent to the idea that we humans have a right to dominate nature rather than a responsibility to be good stewards of it). For the vast majority, their denial of reality is driven by adherence to libertarian ideology and free market economics. However, because this would be immediately seen as them not acting in the public interest, a bit like members of the KKK, they hide behind a veil of pure white religiousity instead.

So then, here is why I think Rick Santorum needs to study his Bible a bit more closely (it is taken from the 23rd Chapter of the Gospel according to St Matthew):

Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?…

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices— mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law— justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!
(Matthew 23:13-32 NIV)

Those who know their Bible well, may ask why I stopped there. This is because Jesus went on to rebuke these Pharisees as follows: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth…”

Is this not exactly what the Tea Party is doing? These ultra-Conservative prisoners of libertarian ideology and fanatical adherents to free market economics are determined to sacrifice the future habitability of planet Earth on an altar of worship to their God of short-term self-interest… My advice to all who are tempted to join them is this: When we know we’re in a hole, we should stop digging!

—————-

Update: With my thanks to the Mashed Potato Bulletin for the hat-tip, Michael Tomasky very eloquently summarised all that is wrong with the Republican Party today in this (17 January 2012) piece: What Mitt’s Father Got Right (and Mitt Gets Wrong)… As Tomasky says, “Romney… is appallingly wrong about ‘envy’ [because] he assumes that everyone wants to get rich but isn’t ‘good’ enough.”

A brief history of mine

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I should like to thank James Delingpole for making such a complete ass of himself in an interview with Sir Paul Nurse just over a year ago, as it was this act of gross stupidity that first propelled me into the Blogosphere. Although my first Blog, entitled James Delingpile, did not last very long, the second, Earthy Issues, fared better and is still available today (although I am not maintaining it). However, last August, just before going on holiday, I set up this blog and the rest, as they say, is history. For an elaboration on this part of the story, please see my Background page.

While on holiday in the South of France with my children and my ex-Wife (yes, I know, that is a bit weird), it was very hot (I wonder why?) and, for over a week, the night-time temperature never went below 20C / 70F. Therefore, I don’t know whether it was the heat or indigestion but, every night, unable to sleep, I would sit at the dining room table writing stuff that has since appeared here: I have also used this blog as a vehicle for sharing with the World the findings from my 5 months spent analysing the public discourse of climate change scepticism in the UK, as practiced by organisations, scientists, economists, politicians, and others. Whereas a 300-word Abstract of my dissertation is viewable on my About page, I still think my first attempt to subsequently summarise its importance to a wider audience was possibly better:
How to be a climate change ‘sceptic’ (7 September 2012).

Since then, although I have always tried very hard to attack the erroneous message rather than the messengers, I have posted a large number of items on many of the subjects of my research, the following being good examples:
The Global Warming Policy Foundation
The Institute of Economic Affairs
Lord (Nigel) Lawson of Blaby
Lord (Christopher) Monckton of Brenchley
Benny Peiser
Conservative Euro and Climate sceptics
Graham Stringer MP (Labour)
Sammy Wilson MP (DUP)

I have run a series of posts on the challenges posed by ecological economics to modernity itself (in 3 parts); as well as Conservatism (N.B. I am a Conservative voter), Liberalism, and Socialism; and perhaps most significantly of all, I have written a great deal as a consequence of reading James Hansen’s extra-ordinary book, Storms of my Grandchildren. For those that have not read it, or any of my posts on it, the best place to start would be Climate science in a nut fragment (6 February 2012).

Much more recently, I ran a series of posts looking at the work of the sceptical British journalists Brendan O’Neill, Melanie Phillips, Christopher Booker and, of course, James Delingpole; starting with an introduction to these peddlers of fear uncertainty and doubt (FUD) here.

However, because this blog is not seeking to attack anyone personally, underlying all of this is my concern for the Environment in general and concern regarding the failure of humanity to grasp that it is not superior to nature; it is part of it: In other words, all things are connected… As I said in my recent post regarding mining in wilderness areas, with me, this concern for the environment goes back over 20 years and, with the benefit of all that I learned while doing my MA, I have decided that the lies must now stop; and I believe I am in as good a position as anyone else to stop them. So, Professor Lindzen, please don’t take it personally but, I firmly believe you over-stepped the line at the Palace of Westminster on 22 February 2012; and I believe the World will now call you to account for it. I still don’t know why you did it. Indeed, as do many others, I suspect you genuinely believe what you say to be true, as do all of those I have listed above (probably).

However, when it gets to the point that anybody has to denounce those who admit they were wrong and/or change their mind (like Richard Muller and William Nordhaus) for supposedly being duped by the conspiracy; when that conspiracy must be forced to grow to include steadily more and more people (now including the UN, the WMO, the IPCC, Governments, Scientific and Professional bodies, and hundreds of research scientists all over the World), I think it is time to admit, as Barry Bickmore has said, “you are trying too hard to avoid the truth!”

However, by far the most insidious thing about all this is that behind all the peddlers of misinformation lurks the driving force of this campaign to deny human responsibility for climate change, the Conservative Think Tanks like the Heartland Institute, which work on behalf of major business interests (as opposed to the public interest) of which James Hoggan says in his book, Climate Cover Up:

Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.

There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.

As I said, I think it is time for the lies to stop; and if Lindzengate shall prove to be the El Alamein of climate change denial (i.e. the beginning of the end or at least “the end of the beginning” – Winston Churchill), I for one will be delighted.

What’s wrong with a meritocracy?

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In a word – Everything!

In essence, a meritocracy is in conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and, I feel sure, it is not what the founding fathers of the USA had in mind when they formulated the United States Declaration of Independence (USDI).

Some will say that the UDHR was and is part of a global conspiracy to achieve worldwide socialism but, have you ever wondered why libertarians attack the UDHR for being a piece of Socialist propaganda? Well, if you haven’t worked it out, see if you can spot the difference between these two sentences:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (sic) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” [USDI]; and
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…” [UDHR].

Did you spot it? The difference is that the latter includes an important word – Justice.

In essence, the USDI asserts rights only, whereas the UDHR incorporates responsibilities as well.

Libertarians are all over rights like a rash, but will do anything to abdicate their responsibility for everything. As has been made clear by the recent disclosure of confidential documents from the Heartland Institute, this would appear to include seeking to abdicate responsibility for potentially making the Earth uninhabitable. Thanks to DeSmogBlog (DSB), line-by-line textual analysis has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the 2-page Strategy Document is genuine. The document itself purports to have only been circulated to certain Board Members and, as DSB says:

This would create a powerful incentive for the author to deny this document’s authenticity: the implied insult to Board members that Heartland treats as second-class could be more damaging to Heartland than the public embarrassment of its inflammatory subject matter.

The exposure of the Heartland Institute’s finance, motives, attitudes, and strategies; including the corruption of the minds of those who will bear the greatest burden of adverse consequences of inaction – namely the upcoming generation of children – deserves to be a game-changer for the public perception of the problem of anthropogenic climate disruption. But will it be so? I think that only time – and some expensive litigation – will tell.

Meanwhile, I am getting seriously off-message… What is wrong with a meritocracy; and with what should we seek to replace it? Well, in a nutshell, the battle cry of the French revolutionaries was correct (even if their methods were not) because it included liberty and justice – the threefold principles of liberty, fraternity, and equality. However, it seems that for many it is the principle of equality that is the problem. Whilst many might have no problem with granting to all equality of opportunity; they would balk at demanding – let alone – granting to all equality of reward.

I have some sympathy with this because I am not a Socialist. I do not demand Maoist uniformity (especially if it involves the majority being controlled by an autocratic elite). But I am, nonetheless, very discontented and disturbed by the meritocracy of globalised Capitalism – which grants to all the universal right to suffer if you can’t help yourself. No wonder people like the present UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, talks about a need for “Compassionate Conservatism”. I agree, this is what we need… in more ways than one: We need compassion and we need conservation. The idolisation of self-determination (i.e. selfishness and greed) leads to only one thing – Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons – the privatisation or over-exploitation and/or pollution of all resources. If privatised – equality of opportunity is denied. If not privatised – development is inevitably unsustainable (because restraint by some leads to advantage being taken by others).

So what is to be done? How do we cut this Gordian Knot? This is where Environmental Justice comes in – justice that is extended to all life – human and non-human; those that are alive now and those that are to follow after us. If we recognise these rights, we would be inevitably driven to stop the acquisitiveness that results in deprivation for others; and replace it with consensual restraint that will ensure the preservation of a habitable planet for future generations.

I think the time has come for humanity to decide which future it is going to embrace:
Use it up and wear it out; or
For what we have received may we be truly thankful.

You can’t take it with you

with 8 comments

Having been lucky enough to have lived and worked in Australia between 1986 and 1989, I got to know and like some Australian bands many of my British friends and family have still never heard of. One of my favourites was – and still is – Paul Kelly and the Messengers. In 1989, they produced a CD album entitled So Much Water So Close To Home from which this self-explanatory song is taken (if you can’t catch all the words and/or want to ponder them awhile – they are reproduced below the embedded video).

All I will say, by way of introduction is this: The accumulation of personal wealth has become the sole objective of many people in modern society; and perpetual growth is posited as a means whereby even the poorest might achieve it. The former World Bank economist Herman Daly called this “growthmania”. Paul Kelly’s words cut through this madness…

You might have a happy family, nice house, fine car
You might be successful in real estate
You could even be a football star
You might have a prime time T.V. show seen in every home and bar
But you can’t take it with you
You might own a great big factory, oil wells on sacred land
You might be in line for promotion, with a foolproof retirement plan
You might have your money in copper, textiles or imports from Japan
But you can’t take it with you
You can’t take it with you though you might pile it up high
It’s so much easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye
You might have a body of fine proportion and a hungry mind
A handsome face and a flashing wit, lips that kiss and eyes that shine
There might be a queue all around the block
Long before your starting time
But you can’t take it with you
You might have a great reputation so carefully made
And a set of high ideals, polished up and so well displayed
You might have a burning love inside, so refined, such a special grade
But you can’t take it with you

Written by Martin Lack

25 February 2012 at 00:01

White Man’s Folly

with 22 comments

I am very grateful to Paul Handover, over at Learning from Dogs, for bringing the Native American Cree prophecy to my attention.

A few weeks ago, I quoted the words of Chief Seattle, and the words of the Cree prophecy convey similar sentiment regarding the folly of what Arthur Mol once described as “a structural design fault in modernity” that brings about “the institutionalised destruction of nature”

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money
.

For more of this, visit: http://www.unahi.org/quotes/native-american-quotes.htm.

Alessio Rastani said it all

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Alassio Rastani on the BBC News 24 channel

Alassio Rastani on the BBC News 24 channel

Over the recent holiday period, another TV programme I more or less stumbled upon was the Top 50 Most Annoying People of 2011 (BBC Three, 31 December 2011). Independent financial market trader Alessio Rastani made it into the top 50 for suggesting, in an interview carried live on the BBC News 24 channel last September, that “…governments do not rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world“; and that the the job of market traders “…is just to make money from” recessions. However, what really got people mad was his admission that “…I dream of another recession, I dream of another moment like this“!

Although his comments prompted speculation that he was an attention-seeking fraud, the BBC stands by his appearance as being a legitimate (albeit provocative) spokesperson for the financial services industry.

Thus it is proven that, as long ago as last July, I was justified in getting angry because the financial services industry is able to hold governments to ransom.

Tomorrow, we move on to someone even more evil, Adolf Hitler…

When will we have enough Supermarkets?

with 6 comments

On the day after it was announced that unemployment has reached a 17-year high in the UK, I hesitate to complain about the fact that Morrisons has promised to open 25 new supermarkets in the UK next year and create 7000 new jobs. However, when, if ever, is someone going to decide that we have got enough? Or is this yet another example of Garrett Hardin’s ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ (cunningly disguised – in this instance – as aggressive competition for increased market share)? Will it only be accepted that there are enough when everybody works in a shop; and we all spend all our time buying and selling each other stuff we don’t need?

It is not quite a year ago that the BBC broadcast a Panorama programme entitled ‘What Price Cheap Food‘ containing the startling revelation that, in the two years between 1 November 2008 and 1 November 2010, town planners approved applications for at least 577 new supermarkets across the UK. Can it really be necessary, or sustainable, for 5 new supermarkets to open every week?

According to government statistics, there are approximately 90 thousand grocery stores in the UK. Given a current UK population of say 63 million people living in approximately 27 million households, this equates to 1 store for every 700 people and/or 1 store for every 300 households. So I ask again, when will we have enough?

May be too much choice is one of the reasons more and more people are becoming obese? Seriously though, if we are all eating and or consuming roughly the same amount of stuff, what is driving the demand for all these new stores? Is it justified by the rate of population growth? Well, let’s see: Net migration to the UK in 2010 was 252 thousand. Based on the above statistics, this would have justified the opening of 360 stores but only if all existing stores were operating at full capacity. I know no-one likes to wait in line to pay for their shopping but, be reasonable, this does not justify the perpetual opening of new stores does it?

No, I’m sorry to say it but, I think this is just one example of what Herman Daly called growthmania; and the success of Capitalism appears to depend upon it. Capitalism demands perpetual growth to pay dividends to shareholders; and guarantee that we all get a reasonable pension when we retire. Therefore, whether we like it or not, we are all slaves to the machine and the machine (although not working very well at present) is economic growth. Where and when will it all end? Will shareholders and pensioners still be happy when, as people like Tim Worstall would have us believe, quantitative growth has been replaced by qualitative development?

As Daly once said, “The Earth may be developing, but it is not growing!“. Remember that next time you go into a new shop looking for a bargain, won’t you…?

"Oxford Street" by Ben Lack

"Oxford Street" by Ben Lack

Fables about toxic chemicals?

with 2 comments

In this, the last chapter of Betrayal of Science and Reason (1996) dealing with “brownlash fables” (i.e. denialist misinformation), Paul and Anne Ehrlich return to their first love – biology: In so doing, they start by reminding us that humans are “sight-animals” (i.e. our vision is the strongest and most dominant of our five senses). Whereas, for many animals the dominant sense is smell or hearing (depending on their ecological niche). However, the Ehrlichs extend this argument much further by pointing out that, just as our global ecosystem is dependent upon the unseen work of innumerable numbers of bacteria, fungi, and invertebrates; the smooth working of the circle of life is dependent on innumerable chemical processes. The Ehrlichs therefore suggest that, because we cannot always see it (until fish start dying in large numbers, etc.), we are often completely unaware of the disruptive (if not catastrophic) nature of the damage done by toxic substances we release into the environment.

Even when our activities damage our own health, the effects are not always immediately obvious – and/or we take a very long time to realise (in some cases because vested interests do not want us to) – that what we are doing is dangerous. For example, our lungs seem to be particularly susceptible to damage from airborne pollutants such as asbestos, coal and silica dust. Then of course, there is the whole debacle over smoking – what an absolutely insane idea that was – about as sensible as poking yourself in the eyes with a needle, or chewing poisonous mushrooms (just for fun)!

However, the main target of the Ehrlich’s anger was the petro-chemical industry that, in their view, seemed to be on a quest to see who could produce the most toxic substance. Of course it was Rachel Carson who was the first person to highlight the fact that synthetic insecticides and herbicides were often much more expensive and much less-effective (in the long-term at least) than natural predators. Furthermore, both these and fertilisers disrupted ecosystems and had unintended consequences – such as giving rise to acquired immunity in the undesirable species over which control was being sought: Pests have often behaved like the Borg – they have adapted!

Despite all this, the brownlash have sought to re-write history and blame the environmental hysteria caused by Carson’s Silent Spring for the banning of DDT (etc); and the supposedly-consequential death of millions of people from Malaria. This is nothing short of reality inversion. The brownlash were doing it in 1996; and they are still doing it today.

Since the early 1990s at least, the brownlash has attacked the National Resource Defence Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for all sorts of supposedly-alarmist scare stories. However, if you bother to investigate the motives (or financiers) of those making these attacks, it always turns out that, far from being concerned about people’s mental well-being, they are concerned about restrictions being placed upon their potential to make a profit at nature’s expense: They are not concerned about people; they are only concerned about money.

The Bible says that “…the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (I Timothy 6:10). Nearly 2000 years later, are we still failing to heed this warning? Yes, I think so… The only thing that is stopping humanity from taking effective action to mitigate avoidable climate change – apart from the absurd arrogance of assuming that we are not capable of adversely affecting our environment – is the love of money. It really is that simple and, unless or until the vast majority of people on this planet wake up to the fact that a greedy minority is selfishly encouraging them to continue with “business as usual“, we will destroy the Goldilocks planet that made our existence possible.

Environmental alarmism or Biological reality – you decide (quickly please)!

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