From www.washingtonpolicy.org we have an op-ed which looks at some perceived ironies of Earth Day.
Todd Myers, author of Eco-Fads: How the Rise in Trendy Environmentalism Is Harming the Environment, wrote the following column for Earth Day — a great time to promote environmental policies that will actually make a difference.
Earth Day Exposes the Ironies of the Left’s Trendy Environmentalism
By Todd Myers, Director, Center for the Environment, April, 2013
“On April 22, in cities across America, some environmental activists will celebrate Earth Day, claiming only increased government control can protect the environment. Those celebrations will expose a couple ironies.
First, many activists will arrive in a Toyota Prius, which has become the symbol of environmental consciousness. Ironically, however, the Prius is not a triumph of political planning but of the free market. In the 1990s, while California was requiring “zero-emission” vehicles, leaders at Toyota and Honda saw an opportunity to sell cars to people who want to spend less on gasoline, drive a car that emits less carbon dioxide, or both. Thus was born the hybrid vehicle. Even though it did not meet California’s regulation, it sold well, causing Golden State politicians to change the law.
Jumping on the bandwagon, politicians began to give preferences to hybrids. Politicians did not lead, but followed the innovation of the free market. Most Prius drivers, however, don’t know that history and some will spend Earth Day opposing the free-market policies that created the car they are so proud of.
Many activists on the left will also spend Earth Day complaining that people who see the benefits of the free market don’t care about the environment. A look at the national political map, however, tells a different story.
Across the country, the parts of the nation that most consistently support free-market candidates are those surrounded by stunning natural beauty. The most vocal environmental activists — who are quick to lecture others about caring for nature — tend to live in cities, where nature has been thoroughly controlled, constrained and paved.
How, we should ask, can environmental activists get away with this? How can they continue to advocate top-down policies that don’t help the environment? How can those who live where nature has been subjugated lecture those who live in it and with it every day?
Environmentalism has become trendy and a way to show you are a good person, rather than actually helping the environment. Environmental activists and politicians choose government-mandated approaches not because they help the environment, but because the policies make them feel good about themselves and make them look good to others.
The strategy is as simple as the fourth-grade playground: Build up your own environmental credentials by tearing others down and calling names.
Rather than pointing out these ironies, however, free-market conservatives often fall into the trap of arguing there are no risks to the environment, fitting perfectly into the stereotype imposed on them by the left. Some conservatives fear that by admitting they care about the environment, they must then endorse a range of left-wing policies they oppose.
In fact, a strong concern for the environment is part of believing in personal responsibility and the free market. Conservatives believe people have freedom, but must take responsibility for the impact they cause. If you commit a crime, you don’t get to blame society. A reason conservatives live near nature is that we love to hike, hunt, fish and marvel at the awe-inspiring natural beauty with which our nation is so blessed.
Finally, the free market is the greatest system for allocating scarce resources and doing more with less, both of which are at the heart of a true environmental ethic.
Rather than forcing behavior change, conservatives promote technological solutions that respect the freedom of individuals while reducing environmental impact. Rather than falling for the latest trendy environmental policy, conservatives demand that the government measure success or failure.
Better yet, we promote the creative competition that discovers options that we never imagined. As politicians spend billions on rail and buses that carry few people, the market is creating driverless, fuel-efficient cars that will more efficiently take people exactly where they want to go.
For energy efficiency, clean air, clean water and smart resource use, the free market combines prosperity and innovation to successfully protect natural resources. April 22 may be a one-day event for some, but for those who embrace the free market and its push to do more with less, every day is Earth Day.”
Crestone and Beyond
This article is an endorsement of the free market in terms of promoting prosperity, innovation and smart, efficient and responsible utilization of natural resources, while at the same time promoting personal responsibility and personal freedom.
And on a smaller individual scale…
Amazingly, while considering the more sweeping implications suggested in the article above, I still pick up roadside litter and recycle it.
What is amazing is not that I pick it up, but that unconscious individuals throw it out to the wayside. That is truly amazing. I have filled my truck cargo bay up with other peoples’ trash, and recycled it, over and again.
You might try to do this yourself sometime. I swear you will benefit from what you can learn inside. Just pick some section of roadside where it is safe for you to pull over and walk up and down a stretch, and see what you can harvest from the wasteland of peoples’ trashy activities.
Track your inner feeling states as you do so. Try not to get wrapped up in shadow anger. Shift to compassion.
Now, think of the whole way we have trashed the Earth. Hold the compassion as you contemplate this larger scale trash mess. It is just like the roadside mess.
It has been said that if some beings from other dimensions and realms were to visit our planet, they may demand to visit with the management.
Please try to recycle everything you possible can, as you practice consuming less.
It is good to practice kindness to Mother Earth. As the article states…do more with less.
I am reminded of the times of my grandparents, and before, when people lived resiliency and resourcefulness.
Look at what we have become as a society nursing its own addictive crippled condition.
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond.