A lack of courage in environmentalism today

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In the style of E Belfort Bax in his book “Courage” from 1890 I take courage to be “the subordination of fear to purpose”.  On this line connecting fear and actions then cowardice is when fears dominate the actions and “purpose” is subordinated.

Once upon a time, the environmentalists were a courageous lot and were surely instrumental in the cleaning up of many areas from the effects of real pollution (smoke, dust, wastes, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, food additives …..). But the simple virtues of keeping things clean and preventing disease and improving the standard of living for humans has given way to the more pompous and pretentious goals of preventing global warming (an unbridled arrogance), of maintaining bio-diversity (and why is this important?) and of preserving “scarce resources due to the “limits to growth” (with scare scenarios of “peak” oil, “peak” coal, food shortages, water shortages, metal shortages  and so on). The environmental movement has become a mish-mash of “do-gooders”, amateur scientists and cult members whose primary weapon has become an imposition of draconian measures for uncertain goals. A sort of eco-fascism.

These goals have even become an acceptable political line and have led to what can only be called the politics of alarmism where fears – and most are imaginary fears – dominate all actions. These fears can never be disproved because they always lie a few generation in the future. But they lead to a world where the emphasis has shifted to telling people what not to do (ostensibly for their own good) because of some fear or the other  rather than to having goals for the uplifting of living standards and the actions to be taken in spite of the fears that may exist.

Inevitably the politics of alarmism are accompanied by the opportunists whose greed leads to all the scams surrounding environmental subsidies for renewable power or for carbon trading. But similar scams would appear with any line of politics and I don’t think that the environmental scamsters are any worse than the real estate bubble developers or the sub-prime mortgage supporters or the inside traders or the operators of Ponzi schemes. These scams just reflect the state of ethics that prevail and are not particularly tied to any specific politics.

But I find it a pity that the simple goals of cleaning up the world we live in has given way to the environmentalism of today which generates the politics of alarmism – which is not just a political line without courage – but actually becomes a line of cowardice when it seeks to impose limitations on what others  may not do.

Related: “The Red Badge of Courage” in Essence of a Manager

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4 Responses to “A lack of courage in environmentalism today”

  1. frizztext Says:

    a mish-mash of “do-gooders”, amateur scientists and cult members whose primary weapon has become an imposition of draconian measures for uncertain goals. A sort of eco-fascism…
    maybe … on the other hand: do you know how expensive Chernobyl is now yearly and Fukushima will be? And the oil by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe they are not only do-gooders but people with reason.

    • ktwop Says:

      But cost is just money.
      My point is that “stopping nuclear” is the coward’s way out.
      The “courageous” way would be to develop safe nuclear power in spite of the fears. The fears would then be properly subordinated to the purpose.
      The Fukushima catastrophe will be expensive and will probably bring Tepco to bankruptcy but nobody has received a fatal dose of radiation.
      The Fukushima hysteria degrades the effects of the tsunami and denigrates the 28000+ lives that were lost

  2. Alarmism « Flickr Comments Says:

    […] in “The k2p blog” writes about what he calls (eco-) ALARMISM at a-lack-of-courage-in-environmentalism-today: “… a mish-mash of “do-gooders”, amateur scientists and cult members whose primary […]

  3. frizztext Says:

    thanks for that fast and very good response to the hysteria-phenomenon!
    I would like to discuss that also in my new article at http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/alarmism/
    inspired by you, I’ve made a quotation of your thoughts there.
    maybe you copy and paste your comment there on my website too?

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