Environmental(ists') Footprint

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

"A cultural movement often produces caricatures of itself that emphasize its essence." Writing this over forty years ago, Ayn Rand immediately provided a memorable example:

The hippies are one such caricature. These ecological crusaders -- who would pollute any stream by stepping into it -- are the physical embodiments of the spirit of today's culture. Much more can be said about their motives, but for the moment observe the intention of the physical appearance they choose to assume. The purpose of flaunting deliberate ugliness and bodily dirt is to offend others (while simultaneously playing for pity) -- to defy, to affront, to bait those who hold values, any values. [bold added] (The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, p. 147)
A news item about an effort to clean up a mess left by followers of the environmental movement reminded me of this very quote this morning. Apparently, a camp site for anti-pipeline protesters -- run by an outfit that calls itself "Water Protectors" -- has created such a huge mound of refuse that it must be removed before the spring thaw. Otherwise, a festering mess that may include human bodies will likely pollute the Cannonball River and the Lake Oahe reservoir.

Too many will stop at calling this hypocrisy, but the real crime is that these protesters oppose industrialization and the numerous benefits it brings to mankind.

-- CAV


Dinwar said...

It's far worse than just that. "Renewable" energy generating plants are necessarily huge compared to oil and coal plants, even if you consider the mines/wells in the footprint of fossil fuel plants. Extraction wells are very small--the Los Angeles area has thousands hidden within a metropolitan area and people don't even notice. In contrast, solar power plants like the Ivanpah solar power plant cover square MILES of territory. Wind farms are even worse, and require tremendous re-structuring of the landscape in addition to all the above. Then you have to factor in the hazardous chemicals used to manufacture the equipment for "renewables", most of which occurs in third-world countries without environmental regulations (environmentalism is a luxury).

I recall an environmental studies class in college. We were discussing wind energy, and I asked how much pollution an average wind turbine involves. The response was that they produced NO pollution--and it took me about half an hour to convince the class (INCLUDING THE PROFESSOR) that these things don't spring out of the ground fully-formed. They need to be researched, developed, manufactured, transported, constructed, decommissioned, etc. None of them considered this. What makes this even worse is that we had just completed discussing all of these issues with coal and oil power generation. It's pure willful blindness.

That's without getting into the issues with the EPA, the endangered species policies ("Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up"), required inefficiencies in manufacturing, transportation, and disposal, and all the rest....

Gus Van Horn said...


Your comment reminds me of something I should have emphasized: the standard of value. My use of the term "footprint" may seem to endorse the popular view that the environment is intrinsically good. I'll take the opportunity to note (for other readers) that my alarm at this case is primarily at the potential for harm to other people (including to their property) that this pollution can cause, and state for the record that the current solution of government remediation ought to be replaced by a much stronger private property regime.