Tag: environmentalism

Why Is the West on Fire?

 

Let’s go back to the turn of the century. No, not the 20th/21st centuries, but back to the 19th/20th century. It was then that the National Park and National Forest services began, then quickly expanded later by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt. The former set aside national wilderness as federally managed land for the public to enjoy, the latter as federally managed land to maintain wilderness, agriculture and the timber industry. That last part is important: The National Forests had an aspect towards maintaining the timber industry.

For about a hundred years, this had gone pretty well. The timber industry harvested in the national forests and replanted so they could go back around again. Several decades back, the industries overplanted figuring once the trees grew to maturity they’d have even more to harvest. The result are the dense forest lands I grew up with in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, one of the first engineering firms had several projects with the National Forest Service, and our contact was from the East. She hated Oregon forests because they were so dense. Well, this was by the timber industries’ design. Then we come to the late eighties/early nineties.

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School Days: Propaganda

 

Something on Ricochet recently reminded me of an event that happened when I was a schoolgirl.

I must have been in 3rd or 4th grade when my class watched a video at school about the inevitable destruction of the world coming soon where we would have no food because all the plants and animals would die due to humanity’s neglect. Then we would die from acid rain, complete with a vivid little enactment of people dying from acid rain. The only way to stop this Certain Death was to start telling grownups to tell people to stop cutting down the rain-forests. I went home bawling to Mom about acid rain death and rainforests. It took her some time to calm me down and I’m fairly certain she got a hold of someone at the school over that.

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Energetic Advocates Needed

 
Anacortes_Refinery_31911
Anacortes, WA oil refinery, by Walter Siegmund (talk) – Own work, CC BY 2.5.

Some months back, I wrote about the Environmental Kuznets Curve, which posits that, as societies become richer, their citizens can afford the luxury of caring about the environment in ways they currently cannot. I suggested that some of this preference could be expressed through government regulation or taxes on dirtier forms of energy, though said I would oppose these in favor of market-driven means.

As the Wall Street Journal details, this is sort-of happening on the West and East Coasts: Environmentalist groups — sometimes, in conjunction with Native American tribes — have successfully stymied a great deal of fossil fuel development through activism and collaboration with government regulatory mandarins because, ew, carbon. Keystone XL may be the biggest and best known example, but it’s hardly the only one:

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Save the Whales. Release the Elephants. Kill the Eagles.

 

shutterstock_94987243If you’re an animal rights activist, you’ve had some high profile wins lately. In March, three years after the highly-critical documentary “Blackfish” was released, Sea World caved to PETA and similar groups, and announced it was ending killer whale shows and captivity:

SeaWorld will turn its attention to “new, inspiring, natural orca encounters” with educational programs emphasizing enrichment, exercise and health with its remaining killer whales, CEO Joel Manby said on a conference call. The orca shows will end in San Diego in 2017, while the San Antonio and Orlando parks will end the shows by 2019.

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Some Greens Imagine a World Without Economic Growth. But There’s a Better Way.

 

shutterstock_231138520Economic growth — material abundance and the opportunity for human advancement it generates — is the beating, sustaining heart of modern civilization. Longer lives, more interesting lives, safer lives. Mass flourishing — with lots of cool stuff and more on the way.

What does scarcity look like? Fans of “The Walking Dead” sure know, just as they know the real monsters are humans fighting over what scraps remain of our world after the zombie apocalypse.

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Why the Doctrine of Sustainability is Anti-Catholic and the Pope Should Reject It

 

Back in May, I noticed an article on CRISIS magazine’s website that I knew I wouldn’t have the proper time to devote to reading. It was titled, What Does “Sustainability” Really Mean?, so I added it to my menu bar for later perusal. It was worth the wait.

“Sustainability” is one of those watchwords which has found common usage across the political spectrum. On the left, it typically raises concerns about the environmental impact of humans using limited natural resources like water and fossil fuels. On the right, there’s more worry over the sustainability of a government or economic system burdened by $18 trillion of debt. Having read William M. Briggs’s excellent article hasn’t changed my mind about the latter, but it has given me pause about the concept of sustainability generally. There’s just so much we simply don’t (and can’t) know.

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No One Remembers “Everything But the Squeal”

 

shutterstock_169653197Okay, so yesterday world leaders salved their collective consumption consciences by eating a lunch made with garbage. Yes, after wasting thousands of gallons of jet fuel flying in from all over the world with their enormous entourages, they wore their Savile Row suits and Italian leather shoes to an upscale lunch, eating landfill salad with their veggie burgers (made of juicing pulp) and corn-starch French fries. No word on how the consumables were obtained for this groundbreaking luncheon. Surely they came from the kitchen garbage right there at the United Nations.

This dinner was all about addressing food waste by Western cultures. I know, I know, I always throw out my pulp after juicing. Oh, wait, no I don’t. I don’t juice. It’s stupid because you throw out all the parts of the fruits and vegetables that are actually good for you — like half the vitamins and all the fiber — so you can get the sweet, sweet sugars and tell yourself you’ve extracted all the good parts. You’re better off eating an apple from your local farmer’s market with a glass of low-sodium V-8, or just having a colorful salad without all the good parts like bacon and cheese.

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The Eureka Podcast: Drought and Despair in California

 

In the newest installment of the Eureka podcast, Hoover Institution fellows Carson Bruno and Bill Whalen are joined by Stanford political science professor Bruce Cain (Director of the university’s Center for the American West) to discuss the ramifications of the California drought, how government may have compounded the problem, and whether or not residents of the Golden State have to settle for a future of rock gardens and being fined for overwatering their lawns. Listen in below:

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Volkswagen, the EPA, and Latter-day Indulgences

 

Volkswagen Group’s stock price has collapsed 30 percent since news broke last week that the company doctored engine management software to conceal tailpipe emissions exceeding EPA standards. Why would a global corporation risk an estimated $18 billion in fines and penalties to eke a bit more mileage out of a diesel power plant that is already remarkably thrifty and powerful? The figure below tells the story in one chart.

CAFE Standards

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