Saturday, February 14, 2009

Environmental Fascism

I recently read In the Footsteps of David Brower in the most recent issue of Genesis and was just appalled by the environmental fascism that is so casually presented. Although Brower's background was in the wilderness preservation wing of the conservation movement, he led his group to take on many of the issues raised by new, more radical environmentalists. FOE (Friends of the Earth) campaigned against the Alaska Pipeline, the Super Sonic Transport airplane (SST), and nuclear power. Are you enjoying high electric rates out there in California? You may thank Mr. Brower and all the other confused and superstitious folks who opposed the development of nuclear energy in part for that. Lammers, likewise, should probably not have been uncritically featured in Genesis. He was responsible, by his own admission, for denying US contractors 500 million in business for equipment not supplied to the Three Gorges Dam in China. What sort of position of moral enlightenment thinks that disrupting exports for US companies such as Caterpillar is good for America? Mr. Lammer’s level of technology seems not to extend much beyond real estate development and the making of ice cream but he has no compunction about advocating the certain knowledge that dam building is bad for the planet.

Mr. Lammers has probably not done much research on how many lives the Yangtze River in China has taken over the centuries due to seasonal flooding. Not only is the moralizing of current ecological fanaticism scientifically inaccurate it is, largely speaking, morally indefensible from a Christian point of view. Genesis specifically mandates mankind as having dominion over the earth and multiplying. The Bible also did not advise mere replication for humanity, which is another increasingly distorted spiritual view adopted by most believers in the new religion of ecology. All species are not equal. I don’t recall God making a covenant with his chosen fish or spotted owls.

I have written about the Southwest in Travelers’ Tales American Southwest and lived in the Southwest for ten years. I have rafted down the Grand Canyon and gone House boating on Lake Powell and it is sheer mindlessness to equate the building of dams with an assault on nature. One might as well argue that the city of San Francisco is an assault on nature. A little reflection on history will show that the Presidio was built by the Army Corps of Engineers, for example, and is a totally man-made artifact. San Francisco was nothing but sand dunes at the time of the gold rush. Has the city been improved by human habitation? Just think of David McLaren’s work on Golden Gate Park and the answer is: of course. Likewise, the wonderful Glen Canyon and other side canyons have been improved by the waters that so peacefully lap their sides.

The Southwest is lousy with canyons. Just fly over the Grand Canyon and take a gander at all the side canyons. There are more than enough canyons in the southwest to walk and hike through to last all future generations. Crying over the drowning of the Glen Canyon is beyond silly for people who weren’t even old enough to have been there and to know what may or may not have been lost. Yes it was beautiful, and it still is, but in a different way.

The environmental movement has done some terrific things over the years but the tail has come to wag the dog. It is high time we embraced a new ethic that sees development as part of the mandate of Genesis and to go about it in a way that puts people first.

Development is not evil if it is part of a larger vision that understands that population growth and business development go hand-in hand. It is no accident that countries with the largest populations are currently enjoying rising standards of living. Geometric growth is only possible when science and business work for the advancement of mankind. Scientific development without superstition can, likewise, embrace a common sense environmentalism, unencumbered by excessive regulation to bring about the real change that people world-wide yearn for. A new renaissance of Christian living, rooted in Genesis, and a new vision of economic development might yet bring heaven closer to earth. Is that not what we are called to do in the
Lord ’s Prayer? “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Sean O'Reilly

President & CEO
Auriga Distribution Group

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