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There is a growing movement sweeping the western world. It is supported by an alarming number of people; from college students to Hollywood actors and on to politicians. Individuals from every slice of the socio-economic spectrum are involved. Their demands: clean air, clean water, and a slightly curtailed use of natural resources. That, we are told, is the only end the environmental movement seeks.
At first glance who could argue that the environmentalists battle for cleaner air and water was anything other than a genuine concern for the world that human beings must call home.
We would all be the benefactors of this movement if its true intention were for the betterment of human existence. What may have once started as a well-intended campaign to enlighten the public, in regards to matters involving the environment, has turned into a war against mans very means of existence. Environmentalism has come to stand for the betterment of the environment for the soul benefit of the environment regardless of the expense to man.
How did this perversion of a once noble idea take place? Many factors contributed to its demise. Environmentalist took man from his place at the top of natures pyramid and placed him not only outside nature but below it. The movement then demanded of man the impossible task of surviving in the environment without upsetting or altering it.
Three different types of people perpetuated environmentalism fall. First and the most terrifying individuals are the hard-core environmentalist that have considered thoroughly the course they run and still hope to see it through to its end.
The second type of individual is the person that exploits the
environmental movement to further political, bureaucratic, and finical ends. The third type of individual is the quasi-environmentalist, who like anyone agrees with the basic idea of preserving the world that man lives in; but has never given serious consideration to what the environmental movement truly stands for. These are the people that I wish to address.
The first type: the man haters in simple terms are people whose only reason for existence is to impede the progress of mankind for the benefit of nature. Their goal is not just to relinquish man back to the cave but to see him buried in it. Men like Hitler, Stalin, and Mo Tze Sung committed their atrocities in the name of ideologies that held some semblance, no matter how perverted or corrupt, of human interest. The zealot environmentalist seeks the destruction of man for the benefit of nothing. Destruction for the sake of destruction is the end they seek. Most people harbor, although rarely acknowledged let alone celebrated, pride on being human. In the place of this pride the extreme environmentalist has only self-loathing.
Harsh accusations? Consider the own words. PETA, even if animal testing produced a cure for AIDS we would be against it!, human beings do not have a right to life, mankind is the biggest blight on the face of the earth(Locke). Dave Foreman, the founder of Earth First, exclaims until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along, (Worceshym). To date David Graber, a biologist with the U.S. National Park Service, has summed up the position of the environmental movement best: we are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free flowing river, or ecosystem to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more than any other human body, or a billion of them(Worceshym).
Once a species starts to apologize for its existence and begins to attack its means of survival the nature that it worships will select that species for extinction. However, there is a great deal of money to be made by exploiting the environmental movement. This is where the second type of environmentalist comes in to play. Where there is money there is also power and political pull. Lucrative cabinet and management postings for contributors and supporters, pork spending promises of research, capital investment, and big money government contract work; legacy building legislation, are a few of the gains that the bureaucrats have found in the movement. Election time doom prophecies and partisan rhetoric is simply bonuses for the environmental movements hitchhikers. Although the bureaucratic motivations differ from the environmentalists, the bureaucrats are welcomed as a brawny means to the final end.
Al earth in the balance Gore is a superb example of the type two environmentalist. He recently used four billion gallons of water, 7.1 million dollars to water users, to raise the level of the Connecticut River for a photo opportunity. This event coming on the heals of a rejected petition from Save our Rivers to increase the amount of water released from the dam to maintain fish habitat (Al Gore on Water). Oblivious to the environment vs. photo op contradiction and showing his true colors, Al Gore writes, “We are close to a time when all of humankind will envision a global agenda that encompasses a kind of Global Marshall Plan, if you will, to address the causes of poverty, suffering and environmental destruction all over the earth”(Earth in the Balance). “Adopting a central organizing principle…means embarking on an all-out effort to use every policy and program, every law and institution…to halt the destruction of the environment”(Earth in the Balance). Translation: in order to save the environment government must increase its size and scope to be all-inclusive.
Unfortunately these two parasites, the bureaucrats and the hard-core environmentalists, require a sacrifice. Being mutually dependent entities they cannot afford to sacrifice one another. They will come to the third type of individual. Through their own passivity or innocence they, the people of the third type, will be in-listed as part of the sacrifice. That sacrifice will not be limited only to their pleasures, freedoms, and livelihood but could ultimately require their lives. Be it man sacrificed for the sake of nature, as the environmentalists want it. Or man sacrificed for the sake of an impossible utopian ideal, as is the bureaucrats wish. The third type of individual must consider what is the true nature of man. Is man an end in himself or is man simply a means to some other end?
What people comprize the third group? They are the individuals that wordlessly admire the beauty of an evening sunset; but do not recognize that man is the only being capable of assigning that sunset value. They invite there friends and family to enjoy outdoor recreation that ranges from snow-mobiling to mountain climbing and everything in-between; never stopping to appreciate the fact that such quality time was purchased by countless generations whos only pleasure was a bowl of tasteless stew after an entire day laboring in a field that only produced enough food to sustain a small family. They vote into power men that promise to clean up the air and water, men that vow to take our rivers and streams away from selfish and corrupt corporations; not realizing, in there innocence or ignorance, that it is the technology created by the evil industrial giants that will be used in the clean up. They take for granted all that man has accomplished, because they have been brought up to believe that man was born with an instinct of survival.
Animals do not survive by rational thought. They survive through inborn reflexes and sensoryperceptual association(Locke). Are the products and accomplishments man has made, which are the means of his survival, the fruit of some inborn unlearned reflex? Does man automatically make those same basic associations? Man posses neither the means nor an instinct of self-preservation! A desire to remain alive does not constitute an instinct. Man must learn what foods to eat, he must learn how to provide shelter for himself, he must learn to perform every action necessary to prolong and improve his life. Agreed, not every man must learn to plant a garden, milk a cow, or build supersonic jets. The crucial point is someone did, at some point learn to do many of the things we now take for granted. There is not one skill that modern man posses today, from the crudest slingshot to the launching of an orbital satellite, that was given to him by instinct. Human instinct starts and stops at the realization of hunger and cold. A need for food and shelter is all that nature gave man. From there on out man must learn what to do. Nature does not automatically answer for man whether or not this action will be more beneficial than that action. Man must consider the outcomes of both actions and decide which course will be more beneficial.
Lets go back to Mr. Grabers early statement (Worceshym). Consider only the assertion of an intrinsic nature based value. The remainder Mr. Graber offensive statement speaks for its self. Nature, man not included, cannot arbitrarily assign to itself a value, no mater how great or small the scale. The only being that can bestow value is man. The idea that objects in nature, other than man, can assign to themselves values, an act that presupposes intelligence and the ability to reason, is a fallacy. Nature receives value only in its usefulness to man. The basis of that value is derived from the benefits man can garner from nature. Wood for homes, fuel for the generation of electricity, hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, and millions of other recreational and industrial uses are what comprise natures value. The most breath taking sunset or panoramic mountain top view has no value until it is granted by a man the that views it.
Which value do we place on nature or more appropriately whose value do we place on nature? The answer is, quite simply, your own. Consider all the benefits you derive from natural resources. Remembering not only where in nature those benefits originated, but that they required the creative influence of man to harness and shape them. Recognize that the mysterious feeling of wonder and amazement you feel when looking down from an airplane is pride. Realize that reverent pride, pride in being a man, is the name of the wordless feeling that greets you when you gaze out across a mountain meadow for the first or hundredth time.
All this is definitely not an argument in behalf of the destruction of nature. Earth is our natural environment, without it we will not survive. A whimsical course of abuse and neglect will only lead to a world void of man. Mankind must act as the stewards of the land, realizing that it is required by his nature to survive. Man can only do this by remembering that he is not just part of nature but the highest being in the natural world. Placing the needs of nature above man negates man. In honest debate with unbiased scientific information, remembering what man is, and not apologizing for his nature man can find the solutions to maintain and perpetuate his existence indefinitely.
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