Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
John Tierney joins Brian Anderson to discuss the campaign to ban the use of plastic products and the flawed logic behind the recycling movement—the subjects of Tierney’s story, “The Perverse Panic over Plastic,” from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal.
Hundreds of cities and eight states have outlawed or regulated single-use plastic bags. But according to Tierney, the plastic panic doesn’t make sense. Plastic bags are the best environmental choice at the supermarket, not the worst, and cities that built expensive recycling programs—in the hopes of turning a profit on recycled products—have instead paid extra to get rid of their plastic waste, mostly by shipping it to Asian countries with low labor costs. However, the bans will likely continue as political leaders and private companies seek a renewed sense of moral superiority.
American Conservatism is conserving America. Conserving we the people and the land on which we live. Democrats have used environmentalism to give a generation of young voters a feeling of purpose, but it is time for Conservatives to demonstrate how conservation is something superior. People will sometimes use the terms synonymously but there are profound differences between the tradition of conservation and the religion of environmentalism.
Specifics vs. Abstractions
Conservation is a practical tradition of managing specific resources with specific goals in mind. Conservation is measuring the populations of animals, the conditions of habitats, the accessibility and utility of land, and actively managing it with a specific plan. When a species is threatened or endangered we make a plan to bring them back to a stable population so that we can enjoy that species in our ecosystems and our communities. The Bald Eagle, The Grizzle Bear, The Gray Wolf, only a few successes of looking at specific objectives and taking sensible goals to achieve them.
I was a minor rock hound — a rock pup, if you will — in my youth. Nothing serious, a small collection, only a few spectacular finds of my own, the rest either dull or store-bought. I liked crystals. But not as “wellness” aids. The folklore surrounding minerals, including their medicinal use, is part of their history. Still, I found myself mildly disappointed by the degree to which even geology shops treated the folklore as true.
Apparently, “wellness” claims for rocks have only gotten worse — er, I mean, more popular — since I was a young rock hound. Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, has gifted the world with Goop, like crystal-enhanced water bottles! Yoni eggs! (Warning: these eggs NSFW.) Rose quartz, with its soft pink hue, is particularly popular for “wellness.” Fair-trade certification, which is supposed to guarantee humane treatment of workers, is also popular in wellness products. But — and it’s a big but — most “wellness” crystals are far from fair trade. That pretty rose quartz is the color of sweat and blood.
Poor folk paid pennies to mine, in cramped, dangerous conditions, rocks that richer folk will sell for hundreds of dollars doesn’t shock me. Terrible as these mining jobs are, people choose these jobs over the other available alternatives. But then, I’m usually of the attitude that there’s no reason why bad conditions couldn’t get worse, and that’s not an attitude I’d expect the “wellness” crowd, which believes in “wellness,” after all, to share. Even someone resigned, or callously indifferent, to human suffering might balk at the environmental damage wreaked by humanity’s current appetite for crystalline “wellness.” I have a rare stone in my wedding ring, but it’s lab-created: I didn’t find it appealing to molest tons of extra earth for one small pebble, not even for a wedding ring — especially when a better-quality version of the same crystal can be easily made in the lab. Natural and environmentally-friendly aren’t always the same thing.
Studio NAB (nota bene: never trust an architecture firm which calls itself a “studio”) has quite a vision for Notre-Dame’s future. As ArchDaily reports: In the aftermath of the blaze that destroyed the roof of Paris’ iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral, Studio NAB has envisioned a replacement ‘greenhouse roof.’ Described as a cathedral ‘in green for all,’ […]
It may be irrational to fret about the solemn frippery contained in a BBC editorial. Still, I can’t help but shiver in absolute terror when I read pieces like this. Roman Krznaric, the author, believes that our political order is fatally flawed. Why? I’ll let him explain:
The time has come to face an inconvenient reality: that modern democracy – especially in wealthy countries – has enabled us to colonise the future. We treat the future like a distant colonial outpost devoid of people, where we can freely dump ecological degradation, technological risk, nuclear waste and public debt, and that we feel at liberty to plunder as we please.
It is a lovely, cool, rainy day in the Valley of the Sun. We very much need the rains, and a snow pack on the mountains to the north, to replenish the reservoirs from the dry decade in the drought cycle. Arizona has been in drought since August 2009. The more water falls in Arizona, […]
Climate Change, one of the most polarizing political issues of our time. This week, we address the notion that our planet is warming, as well as what we can do about it. Are environmentalists like watermelons – green on the outside and red on the inside? Tune in to hear State Sponsored Programming discuss. https://anchor.fm/statesponsoredprogramming/episodes/The-Climate-Change-Phenomenon-ft–Mr–Jeff-Linhart–Ep–9-e2p2r2 […]
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.
Environmentalism was on the rise, and in the Pacific Northwest one of the key designated villains were the timber industries. We were told that the industries just wanted to clear cut all of Oregon’s forests and leave nothing. The Spotted Owl was paraded around as needing the old growth trees. It didn’t help that almost a century later, no one remembered there was a distinction made between national parks and national forests – a fact the environmentalists exploited to their favor. Popular opinion against timber industries rose, and it didn’t take long to find a sympathetic judge to block timber harvesting.
Today, the Ninth of Av in the Jewish Calendar, we read in the Torah that G-d’s anger is kindled when we do two things: make a graven image, and do evil.
“Doing evil” seems easy enough to understand – G-d wants us to do good. It is not hard to see why acts of kindness and holiness are what we need in order to improve the world, to make the most of our lives.
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.
The highrise in London which recently burned, killing many was so devastating because it was recently clad with exterior insulation material to make it more energy-efficient.
The fire started in a lower-floor kitchen and rapidly spread up the entire building due to a “chimney effect” caused by the cladding.
On the matter of whether I need to feel guilty when disposing of garbage in plastic bags, my intuitive reaction is a resounding “no.” But why? My imagination is as open as the next fellow’s. I can see in my mind’s eye the garbage truck and its massive pile of billowing polymers, and the landfill […]
Sorry for the clickbait, but misery loves company. http://www.vice.com/read/ecosexuals-believe-having-sex-with-the-earth-could-save-it. And on to the mockery: Preview Open
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.