from the Congress Action newsletter
by: Kim Weissman
April 8, 2001
ENVIRONMENTAL EXTREMISM: Thanks to the policies pushed by radical environmentalists, California is in the process of reverting to the status of a Third World economy, complete with energy shortages and rolling blackouts. The lack of energy has already dealt severe damage to the high technology industry in California, helping to push the economy into recession, and bringing widespread unemployment. Radical environmentalists, having spent decades attacking corporations in general, and utility companies in particular for "despoiling the environment", must be in heaven with the bankruptcy of a major utility company in California this week, brought on in large part by their irresponsible handiwork.
The effects of that bankruptcy are spreading, threatening banks holding their debt, as well as elderly shareholders and bondholders for whom owning utility investments was considered — until now — conservative and safe. But spare the sympathy for those elderly investors. As a block, they usually vote in large margins for left-wing democrats who are the servants of the radical environmental movement. All the elderly investors who just saw a significant portion of their retirement nest egg go up in environmentalist smoke can go whine to the local democrat congressman they helped put in office.
With the example of California staring them in the face, one might think that responsible legislators and policy makers in other states would take steps to make sure their states don't suffer the same fate as California. In fact some responsible officials in New York state were in the process of doing just that, and instituting plans to build more power plants to avert a similar shortage in the Empire State. Until those plans were derailed by a federal judge in response to a lawsuit filed by radical environmentalists, who want to do for New York what they have already done for California.
Welcome to the brave new world of environmental extremism. How extreme are some environmentalists, really? Those na´ve people who like to think that environmentalism simply means clean air and water, or protecting helpless animals from wanton slaughter, seriously misread the virulent nature of the radical environmental fringe. Consider, for example, the "Voluntary Human Extinction Movement" (VHEMT — pronounced vehement). This is a group that would like nothing better than to see the end of the human race altogether. According to the Movement's website, VHEMT "presents an encouraging alternative to the callous exploitation and wholesale destruction of the Earth's ecology.
As VHEMT Volunteers know, the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions, possibly billions, of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens... us.
Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom. When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth's biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve, and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Mother Nature's 'experiments' have done throughout the eons. Good health will be restored to the Earth's ecology... to the life form known by many as Gaia." The goal of VHEMT is simple: "…we should voluntarily phase ourselves out for the good of humanity and planet."
Consider this: the economic growth and resultant increase in national wealth in this country over the past century was made possible by an abundant supply of reasonably priced energy. Increased national wealth is a large factor in improved nutrition and health care, and that has led to increased human life expectancies. Given all of that, is it really such a stretch of the imagination to think that a group dedicated to the extinction of the human race would do all that it could to cut off the abundant supply of reasonably priced energy, and would be pleased with the economic collapse that results? What is it that radical environmentalists, indeed, the whole environmental movement and their servants on the left wing of the democrat party, have done over the past several decades?
Nuclear power opened the possibility of vast new sources of clean, inexpensive energy. So radical environmentalists virtually killed the nuclear power industry in this country. Coal was attacked as too dirty, so severe restrictions were imposed in its use; and when power plants began to switch to clean burning coal, vast domestic reserves of clean burning coal were locked up in national monuments. The use of oil is also under constant attack, and offshore wells have been closed and new domestic sources of oil placed off limits. The result has been increasing dependency on foreign oil that has to be brought to this country by oil tankers, which are far more susceptible to accidents and leakage than domestic pipelines. Whenever there is a tanker spill, we are inundated for weeks on end with images of oil-soaked birds and glistening oil slicks, just to "prove" to us how foolish we are to use so much oil.
And just to further burden the use of fossil fuels, along came the myth of global warming, and an international treaty designed to massively curtail the use of fossil fuels, especially in this country. Hydro power is a reasonable alternative energy source to replace some of our fossil fuel usage, although it is too erratic and not abundant enough to replace fossil fuels entirely. Yet hydro electric dams do provide significant amounts of energy to certain parts of the country, so the radical environmentalists are demanding that hydro power dams be dismantled, ostensibly to protect endangered species of fish and other aquatic life.
Every currently available form of energy has been under assault. And what is it that the radical environmentalists propose as alternatives? Windmills and solar power. But better look out for those windmills — birds have a habit of flying into the rotating blades and getting killed, so windmills are being turned off. And solar power is simply not efficient enough, because not enough solar radiation reaches the surface of the earth. With the current efficiency of solar cells, to power an air conditioner sufficient to cool a two story home would require solar panels larger than the home itself, and would be about five times as expensive as using conventional power. It has been calculated that a global solar energy system sufficient to replace conventional fuels would cover a half million square miles of the earth's surface — one-sixth of the land area of the continental United States — and would use 20% of the earth's known resources of iron to construct.
Radical environmentalism has taken over our lives. Even President Bush's entirely reasonable proposal to open a tiny portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil exploration is meeting increased resistance in the Senate, even among republicans (democrats are almost uniformly opposed), and initial funding for such a project was entirely excluded from the budget plan in the House. If it was left up to the radical environmentalists, our nation would be in such a condition of energy deprivation that California's current energy woes would look like overabundance; and our economy, and the world's economy, would collapse. Which would no doubt thrill the radical environmentalists.
8 apr 2001