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ENVIRONMENT: Peril in overzealousness

Letter by Michael J. Johnson, Tacoma on April 20, 2012 at 9:56 am with 20 Comments »
April 20, 2012 12:41 pm

Robert H. Nelson’s assertion that modern environmental activism is evolving into a quasi-religious movement (TNT, 4-19) is an enlightening yet potentially alarming hypothesis.

Few would argue with the contention that the beauty and glory of our natural surroundings, especially in the Pacific Northwest, can only conjure the feeling of a benevolent power at work. But not unlike the pitfalls of devout religious fundamentalism, activism can quickly degrade into extremism.

The belief that human existence is the scourge of the planet and regulation and demonization should replace common-sense-based initiatives as the prevailing force driving environmental policy smacks of dangerous historical precedent. The Inquisition, the Crusades and modern religious-inspired terrorism all spawned from a platform that was founded on the belief mankind derived from a divine entity and human life was sacred.

Like religion, a modicum of moderation may serve the environmental movement well.

Leave a comment Comments → 20
  1. tellnolies says:

    Oh brother. Try a little moderation in the koolaid drinking yourself pal.

    The effort to create a sustainable economy for the long term is based in the reality that this planet is finite, not on antipathy to humanity. (there may be a few that espouse that, but it is in no way a majority)

    Without our environment, there would be NO human economy. That’s just a simple fact.

    Can’t anyone write a letter about this without overblown hyperbole?

  2. sandblower says:

    Ridiculous premises bring ridiculous conclusions. This wins the prize.

  3. LornaDoone says:

    Hey Michael – when you can set water on fire, something is wrong with your “ecological balance”.

  4. Frankenchrist says:

    Stupidity is the hallmark of the Rush Limbaugh fan.

  5. LornaDoone says:

    Here, Mike, take a look see at Lynn Henning:

    “Lynn Henning is a farmer and environmentalist from Michigan, United States. She was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2010, for her focus on water quality, fighting pollution from concentrated animal feeding facilities”

    It seems Lynn got tired of the factory farm that was ruining her family farm. Danged liberal!!!

  6. bobcat1a says:

    “Only when the last tree has been cut down, only when the last river has been poisoned, only when the last fish has been caught, only then will the Republicans realize that money cannot be eaten.”

    Cut it down, pump it out, dig it up, pave it over, vote Republican.

  7. Nelson’s facile conflation of science and religion in environmental awareness is nothing more than classic projection. Conservative “thinkers” have mastered the confusion in such contorted phrases as “creation science” and “supply-side economics.” One might as easily mate a monkey with a football; the prospect is amusing but futile.

  8. averageJoseph says:

    Looks like you poked the trolls in just the right place Michael.

  9. anders_ibsen says:

    With all due respect Michael, I think you’re grossly mischaracterizing the tenents of American environmentalism. And using very silly, over-dramatic language to boot. The Crusades and the Inquisition? Really?

    I don’t know where you got the idea that conservationists are human-hating luddites. All the environmentalist friends I have are very nice people who just want human activity to be more balanced and sustainable so we can all enjoy a better quality of life (parks we can always take our kids to play in, forests we can always hunt in, lakes we can always fish in).

    Environmentalists by their very nature SEEK moderation, because it’s a profound lack of moderation in our grow-or-die economy that’s taxing our planet.

  10. Anders, what you describe sounds like the common sense based approach the author was promoting. I don’t see a negative broad brush being used here to paint environmentalism in general. The theme of Nelson’s opinion piece was the symbiotic tenets in religion and environmentalism. Cautioning against extremism in either seems like sound advice.

  11. LornaDoone says:

    averageJoseph says:
    April 21, 2012 at 7:53 am Looks like you poked the trolls in just the right place Michael.

    “A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum”

    Missed again, AJ. It appears YOU are the only comment that qualifies for this definition

  12. LornaDoone says:

    anders – mischaracterization is the mainstay of the conservative political ranks. Their attack on conservation is rather laughable, when you consider the root word of conservation and conserative.

    A conservative approach to the environment would actually mean that all pollution and the likes should be minimized for the long range ability for the planet to heal.

  13. averageJoseph says:

    Yep, and you don’t read your posts. LOL.

  14. aislander says:

    Environmentalism is the horse the left rides when its other nags break down.

    Its solution is the same for every problem: bigger government, less freedom for people, higher taxes, more power for politicians and bureaucrats…

    There’s an old sci-fi story about a future dystopia in which anyone with physical or intellectual advantages is given handicaps to bring him down to some arbitrarily ideal level. Anyone who has paid attention to the left in action would find that scenario to be plausible…

  15. Let’s see if THIS news flash gets any attention here:

    By Ian Johnston, msnbc.com
    “James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.
    Lovelock, 92, is writing a new book in which he will say climate change is still happening, but not as quickly as he once feared.
    He previously painted some of the direst visions of the effects of climate change. In 2006, in an article in the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, he wrote that “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”
    However, the professor admitted in a telephone interview with msnbc.com that he now thinks he had been “extrapolating too far.”

  16. I think you may be referring to the short story, “Harrison Bergeron” aislander, a story by Kurt Vonnegut that I used to read with my students every year, and with each passing year, I saw more and more signs of the lunacy of that scenario as a possibility if we allow the left to have its way in this society.

  17. I used to read with my students every year

    And yet you complain about educators attempting to indoctrinate their students…..I gotta wonder if you have read any of the rest of Vonnegut’s work as it would challenge a lot of your ideology.

  18. There you go presuming again bBoy. I let the story speak for itself, just I did other “utopian” narratives. Strange how pretty much all of them foreshadow societies in which the government assumes the role of parent and the citizens eventually lose all drive and incentive, lining up at gov offices to receive food, drugs, instructions, etc.

  19. aislander says:

    Thanks, sozo–I knew I had encountered that somewhere.

    beerBoy writes: “…as it would challenge a lot of your ideology.”

    But only on the emotional level.

  20. I forgot. You, being an intellect rather than an intellectual are completely convinced of your ideology and read to find passages that confirm what you already know to be the one truth rather than to be challenged by ideas/facts that are outside your ideological bubble.

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