Environmentalism

Swiss government supports granting plants rights

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If you thought the animal rights movement could not get any more insane after the Spanish government granted apes rights, here is a new low:

The Federal Ethics Committee of the Swiss government has unanimously concluded that the right of plants should be recognized. Their conclusions (PDF) of their statement on the “moral consideration of plants for their own sake” includes the following:

 

  • “Harm caused to plants”, including the “decapitation of wild flowers” is “morally impermissible”
  • Plants should be “excluded for moral reasons from absolute ownership”
  • Genetic engineering is acceptable only as long as their “reproductive ability and adaptive ability are ensured” and “always involve[s] consideration of conserving and safeguarding the natural, i.e. not man-made, network of relationships”
  • The “patenting of plants as such is morally impermissible and contradicts the dignity of living beings” [minority opinion]
  • “the complete instrumentalisation [i.e. domestrication] of plants – as a collective, as a species, or as individuals – requires moral justification”

 

You can laugh now, but not so long ago, the vast majority of people of people would have laughed at the idea of “animal rights.” To the extent that governments recognize the rights of any animals, plants, or rocks to exist for their own sake, they equally restrict the rights of human beings, since human civilization is only possible by the manipulation, exploitation, and appropriation of nature to suit the selfish interests of human beings. The call to recognize animal or plant rights is ultimately nothing less than a call for the xenocide of the entire human race.  For more see the ARI mini-site Environmentalism and Animal Rights

The vicious lie behind the global warming scare

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The environmentalist movement believes that unless immediate and drastic measures are taken to combat global warming, “disease, desolation and famine” are “inevitable” on a scale that might spell the end of life on earth, making earth “as hot as Venus.“  Surely, such an apocalyptic threat demands immediate action.  Given the resistance to curtailing industrial production (not to mention the economic destruction and mass death that such a curtailment would entail), environmentalists should eagerly supports experiments that attempt to compensate rather than eliminate the impact of industry on the environment.

In fact, a number of relatively simple, low-cost measures have been proposed by scientists and entrepreneurs, one of which is documented in the June 2008 issue of Popular Science (PDF). As early as 1988, oceanographers proposed seeding the oceans with iron, which would cause an algae bloom that could rapidly compensate for the entire effect of industrial civilization for far less money that it would cost to eliminate CO2 emissions.  Seeding experiments by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have demonstrated that the technique works, although further experimentation is required. A number of entrepreneurs, such as Russ George of Planktos Corp (TED video) stepped forward to carry out the required work.

How would you expect environmental groups to react to such an opportunity?  If you guessed outright or even cautious optimism, you would be dead wrong.  “I don’t think any quick geo-engineering fixes are going to work,” said one Greenpeace scientist.  “There are only two ways that we’re going to solve climate change: reduce the amount of energy that we use and dramatically change the methods we use to generate it.”  According to Scientific American, environmental groups were essentially united in the belief that “if society relies on quick techno-fixes to ameliorate global warming … people will stop putting in the hard work necessary to cut carbon emissions.”

Think about what that statement means.  “Hard work” means government coercion to destroy the industrial production that feeds (sometimes barely) a rapidly growing human population.  “Quick engineering fix” means a fast, cheap, technological solution that allows us to have our cake (the wealthy, healthy life that industry makes possible) and eat it too (literally, algae eating CO2).  Notice that their objection is not that iron seeding won’t work, but that it eliminates the incentive to destroy industrial civilization.

As the article make clear, environmentalists are violently opposed to even exploring any measure that attempts to neutralize the “threat” of global warming rather than deal with the cause.  Lies and intimidation are integral to the movement: the terrorist group Sea Shepherd, which has sunk nine ships since 1979, threatened any future seeding experiments, their PR machine used fear of nanotechnology to claim that iron ore (plain rust) is “engineered nanoparticles,” while their political branch got the Spanish government to ban seeding on the grounds that it constitutes “toxic waste” dumping.

As should be clear by now, environmentalism is not actually opposed to global warming – ending the “threat” posed by global warming is the last thing on their agenda.  Their real goal is to use the global warming scare to bully the developed world into reverting into the pre-industrial, pre-civilized age. They oppose viable alternative energy sources for the same reason that they oppose viable fixes to the crises they invent – they oppose nuclear energy, hydro power, and they are organizing to oppose wind power just as it has become viable. If solar panels ever become viable, they will certainly invent reasons to oppose them too.

(Note that I am not actually advocating iron ore seeding.  I am not convinced that the climate is warming as rapidly as claimed, or that CO2 is the cause, and even it is, it is likely that higher CO2 levels and a warmer climate offer tremendous benefits to both plant and animal life.  If anything, we should be encouraging measures that make our world greener and more comfortable.)

CO2 rise making the earth greener, more diverse

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According to NASA satellite data:

Over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the Earth’s vegetated landmass — almost 110 million square kilometres — enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines. When the satellite data zooms in, it finds that each square metre of land, on average, now produces almost 500 grams of greenery per year.

[A] 2004 study, and other more recent ones, point to the warming of the planet and the presence of CO2, a gas indispensable to plant life. CO2 is nature’s fertilizer, bathing the biota with its life-giving nutrients. Plants take the carbon from CO2 to bulk themselves up — carbon is the building block of life — and release the oxygen, which along with the plants, then sustain animal life. As summarized in a report last month, released along with a petition signed by 32,000 U. S. scientists who vouched for the benefits of CO2: “Higher CO2 enables plants to grow faster and larger and to live in drier climates. Plants provide food for animals, which are thereby also enhanced. The extent and diversity of plant and animal life have both increased substantially during the past half-century.”

Despite the evidence that cutting CO2 would cause environmental destruction and a net loss of bio-diversity,

Amazingly, although the risks of action are arguably at least as real as the risks of inaction, Canada and other countries are rushing into Earth-altering carbon schemes with nary a doubt.

More.

California wants to control your thermostat

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The 2008 proposed building standards issued by the California Energy Commission include a requirement that new air-conditioners have a radio-controlled thermostat that cannot be overridden by the owner. This allows the state to override your settings during undefined “emergency events.” The explicit goal of this “feature” is to prevent blackouts by preventing people from lowering their thermostat’s temperature during heat waves.  (Update – due to a public outcry, the standard has been made voluntary – for now.)

Some thoughts:

  • The cause of environmentalism is one of the excuses being used to establish an increasingly totalitarian government in California and elsewhere.
  • The public perception of “global warming” is that of a permanent state of imminent catastrophe, which, like the threat of terrorism, is likely to be used to justify a permanent state of “emergency.”
  • The need for nanny-state thermometers is entirely a government creation. Environmental regulations have made it essentially illegal to build a new power plant in California for the last thirty years, and price controls have made it impossible for utilities to respond to changes in supply and demand.
  • Shortages are entirely a creation of the interventionist state. Imagine Dell running ad campaigns asking the public to “stop buying so many computers!” or Starbucks asking customers to “please reduce your caffeine intake!”
  • This development highlights the sad state of the American energy industry. While rapid advancement in technology allow amazing innovations such as remotely controlled thermostats, environmental regulations have made it all-but-illegal, prohibitively expensive, or legally uncertain to innovate in the energy sector, outside of a few, politically correct and subsidized technologies.
  • The remote-controlled thermostats are a genuinely useful invention. However, the proper use of the technology would be simply to continually broadcast the current energy rate. The utility could then raise the rate during peak hours and let the customer decide how to automatically limit their usage. If energy prices doubled during heat waves, blackouts would be permanently eliminated. Unfortunately, in California, price controls currently mandate that politicians and government bureaucrats, not energy producers set energy prices.

Forget global warming, there's a cold spell coming

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Don’t throw out those fur coats just yet, warns Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, Merited Scientist of Russia and fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. Glaciers will one day reach below Moscow.

Is plastic flotsam good for the environment?

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The latest environmental “crisis” is the floating garbage polluting the world’s oceans, which is said to be killing “more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and sea turtles each year.” But does this number really mean anything? The number of animals killed alone is meaningless without context. Understanding why requires a little ecological intuition.

Suppose that a hunter goes into an isolated forest once a month to kill a deer. What is the hunter’s impact on the deer population? In the short term, after each deer is killed, the population decreases by one deer. In the long term however, the forest is only capable of sustaining a fixed number of grazing animals, and each deer that dies makes room for additional animals. Each dead adult means that there is more food available for the next generation. Whether the deer population remains stable or decreases depends on the adaptive capacity of the species to reproduce fast enough to compensate for the missing deer. If only a small percentage of the population is killed each year, then there will probably not be any change in the population.

Given that there are colonies of sea birds which number over a million and a single sea turtle lays 150-200 eggs, it is far from obvious whether the number of animals killed by garbage has any impact on their population. Animals that survive due to decreased competition may balance the animals killed by plastics. Furthermore, the more drastic the impact on animal populations, the higher the evolutionary pressure for the surviving animals to adapt to their new plastic-rich environment.

It is conceivable that plastic waste has a beneficial impact on the oceans, as it is well known for attracting schools of fish, perhaps because it forms a base for microorganisms. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that environmentalists were dramatically wrong about the impact of a deadly pollutant. In any case, the evolutionary process will certainly maximize the potential of marine species to take advantage of their new environment.

Humans, global warming vindicated as mammoth killers

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The global extinction of megafauna –giant mammals such as mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, and giant sloths has been one of the great mysteries of paleontology. The classical suspects have been global warming (the end of the Ice Age) and over-hunting by humans. These causes are suspect as complete explanations for a variety of reasons, such as evidence that humans have been hunting mammoths as early as 1.8 million years ago, and the mid-Pliocene global warming that failed to cause a mass extinction.

Newly uncovered evidence offers a radical new theory – meteorites. Magnetic metal particles have been discovered in mammoth tusks, with compositions and impact patterns that clearly indicate un-earthly origins. There are no recorded instances of a human being killed by a meteor, so the discovery of meteor particles in at least eight animals from different time periods suggests repeated, devastating strikes. The scientists also found a black layer in the sediment, which may be “the charcoal deposited by wildfires that swept the continent after the space object smashed into the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Most people believe that nature operates by slow, gradual changes, which drive the extinction and formation of species. Yet the new evidence supports the view that evolution substantially operates by regular cataclysmic events. Furthermore, nature is not only well-adapted to catastrophe, but relies on crises to weed out fragile species which are over-adapted for specific environments – for example, the fangs of the saber-toothed cat, or the dietary requirements of panda bears.

Update:  besides meteorites, trees were recently identified as suspects in the extinction of woolly mammoths:

Professor Adrian Lister, a palaeobiologist at University College London, has found that the extensive areas of frozen grassland on which mammoths thrived were gradually replaced by forests, leaving the animals nothing to eat.  Analysis on the DNA extracted from hundreds of fossils has revealed that the genetic differences between individual mammoths were so slight that the animals were unable to adapt to the changes in their environment.

Let polar bears go extinct

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I have nothing against polar bears, of course. But the polar bear is just a brown bear which has evolved to live in an arctic environment. If global warming does eliminate the polar bear’s habitat, it will be to make room for more brown bears. Is there a reason why we should prefer polar bears over brown bears? Perhaps its because polar bears are one of the few large animals which can survive in the arctic. But this only demonstrates that the arctic environment is relatively unfriendly towards life.

Make October 20 "Light’s On" day in Los Angeles

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The city and county of Los Angeles is organizing a voluntary “lights out” event on October 20 to “fight climate change.” 

If you agree with me that this event is a moral atrocity and a stepping stone to coercive restrictions on human industry, then I urge you to use as much energy as possible from 8-9pm October 20th, 2007.  Shine your lights bright, and run your dishwasher, laundry, vacuum, and any other electronic device you have.  If we don’t take a stand against environmentalism now, we might not have a choice when the next blackout hits because yet another power plant was banned.

(The site is lightsoutla.org, but please don’t link to it.)

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