I generally take a rather dim view of the environmentalist movement. This was not always the case. Long, long ago, when I was very young, I actually considered myself an environmentalist. I followed the environmental party line and wanted to save the planet. I worried about overpopulation, pollution, extinctions, and everything else. If global warming had been in fashion back then, I would have worried about that too.
Two things changed my mind. The first was the simple fact that none of the doom and gloom predictions ever happened. As I grew up, I couldn’t help but notice that we were not all starving to death because of overpopulation. The air and water were getting cleaner, not filthier. There has not been a new ice age, or catastrophic flooding caused by global warming. The empirical evidence seems to disprove Green alarmism.
The second thing that turned me against the environmentalists was the knowledge and insights I gained of their methods and motives when I took an environmental studies class in my senior year at Indiana University. The class was actually called something like “Sustainable Living”. I wasn’t sure what that meant. I thought, vaguely, that it might have something to do with recycling. I was wrong.
“Sustainable Living” was, in fact, a sort of seminar on the subject of “Bioregionalism“. Bioregionalism, in the likely event you have never heard of it, is the idea that everyone should live in small, self-sufficient, semi-tribal communities; that conform to ecological boundaries, and using only appropriate, non-industrial technology. In effect, Bioregionalism would require a return to the customs and technology of the Neolithic.
Now, the problem with this idea is that most people have not shown much enthusiasm for turning the clock back. They would rather live in AD 2000 than in 10,000 BC. But, then, the people in the “Sustainable Living” class did not intend to ask people what they wanted. More than once, the topic of a day’s class was on how the bioregional way of life could be imposed on the world.
The consensus was that, barring a complete societal collapse, which they rather hoped for, a complete bioregional society, would not be possible within the lifetime of this generation. Nevertheless, some intermediate steps could be taken to prepare the way.
A drastic reduction in population would be essential for a more ecologically sound world. No one was quite willing to come out in favor of mass murder, but it was generally agreed that the fewer people in the world, the better. Therefore, the number of children people should have should be limited. The impact each person has on the earth should be lessened so there should be restrictions on the appliances people could own. Public transportation was preferable to private automobiles, less pollution and all. Meat eating was not only cruel but also wasteful, so everyone would have to be vegans. Travelling about harms the earth, so most people would have to learn to be content to stay in one place.
None of the above actually applied to the Bioregional thinkers and an author of the books and articles on the class’s reading lit. They had no problem living affluent lives themselves and jetting around the world to promoting their theories.
Sitting in a classroom full of Pol Pot wannabes was an illuminating and rather disturbing experience. It left a sour taste in my mouth that has lasted to this day. I have never liked or trusted the Greens ever since and nothing I have read or seen has changed my conclusion that the extreme environmental movement and ideology are profoundly anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-technology, and ultimately anti-human.