That's right, I'm so excited about Earth Day that I have another whole group of links for you to check out! Below are excerpts…
To get things started, Angela Logomasini writes about how almost 40 years of environmental legislation has squashed freedom and development:
An analysis of all the public laws passed between 1970 and 2005 shows environmental policymaking to be the leading area of lawmaking (excluding symbolic legislation). Further analysis shows that the overwhelming majority of these laws had significant impacts (and many quite major) and an overwhelming majority advance government controls on the economy, land use, and individuals.
[A] federal reform of pesticides legislation in 1996 made the law even more stringent, leading to removal of many valuable products from the marketplace. Similarly, the 1996 reforms to the Safe Drinking Water Act allowed bureaucrats to ratchet up tap water regulations — costing small communities billions in return for little benefit. In 2002, President Bush's so called “brownfield bill” — which was supposed to help promote urban revitalization by restoring abandoned properties — increased federal involvement in an area that is much better left to local governments and private parties.
The only legislation that now receives serious consideration are bills advanced by the greens. Pending on the Hill is a bill that would “reform” the Clean Water Act in a way that would essentially give the feds power not only over “navigable” waters, but all “waters of the United States.” Basically, that would give D.C. bureaucrats the power to regulate every indentation on the ground that collects water, as well as swimming pools, rain barrels, even buckets of water in your backyard.
Even when legislation stalls, greens still win. Consider the Endangered Species Act (ESA): or the past two decades, environmental activists have successfully defeated efforts to compensate property owners for financial losses produced by ESA regulations. By preventing reform, greens have facilitated continued expansion of ESA via executive-branch regulation. The executive has more than doubled the number of species listed, from 564 in 1990 to and 1,269 in 2005.
Environment is the second largest category of federal agency spending (after Homeland Security), according to data collected by the Mercatus Institute. It is also the fastest growing area of agency spending: between 1960 and 1981, environmental spending (adjusted for inflation in 2000 dollars) grew by 7,372 percent followed by homeland-security-related spending, which grew by 2,089 percent.
Somehow, greens still find reason to complain. In particular, they complain that they have not been able to secure passage of global-warming legislation in Congress. That is likely to change, since all three presidential hopefuls support global-warming legislation.
A key reason for the greens success is that they have not only some powerful symbols — like bald eagles and polar bears — they have the money, as a quick review of IRS documents shows. In 2005, the reported income for just three activist environmental groups totals about $300 million — over $76 million for the Natural Resources Defense Council, over $67 million for Environmental Defense, and over $155 million for The Trust for Public Land — and there are dozens more groups with similarly large budgets.
Free-market public policy groups in Washington, D.C. spend a paltry sum by comparison, with only a handful devoting portions of their much smaller budgets to cover environmental issues — CEI reported $3.2 million in total 2005 revenue; the National Center for Public Policy Research reported $7.4 million in 2005; and the Marshall Institute, which reported $812,674 in 2005.
As you can see, this is a snowballing trend that shows no sign of stopping in the near future. Too bad it's going to mercilessly rape your pocketbook!
The Editors at NRO suggest that the global warming frenzy may be a bubble about to burst:
The intensity of the current climate crusade, Al Gore's $300 million ad campaign, and Time's fifth panicky global-warming cover in three years (“Be Worried, Be Very Worried” read the 2006 cover) are all good contrary indicators suggesting that the hysteria is reaching its terminal stage. Like mortgage-backed securities dealers, the climate campaigners are in a panic because the public isn't buying what they're selling. The latest annual Gallup survey on the environment shows that only 37 percent of Americans say they worry “a great deal” about global warming, down from 41 percent last year, about the same level as a decade ago. Americans put global warming way down on their list of major environmental concerns, behind air and water pollution, toxic waste, and the loss of open space.
It may be about to burst, but the climate bubble is still sufficiently robust that the U.S. appears determined to enact the climate policy equivalent of Sarbanes-Oxley — an emissions-trading scheme that will deliver high costs while achieving only modest reductions. Meanwhile, concerns about soaring food prices and groundwater depletion are making people think twice about ethanol, though Washington marches on with its array of subsidies and mandates.
One of these days, the editors of Time and other publications are going to grow bored of producing yet another “green” issue and tired of writing editorials demanding “action now,” just as the media grew exhausted by the population explosion, AIDS, urban sprawl, homelessness, and other former front-burner stories.
Once the climate bubble finally deflates, we can stop tilting at windmills and get back to solving environmental problems through economic growth and market-driven innovation rather than dirigiste dictates from Washington and the U.N.
Yep, this is another example where it really doesn't matter who becomes President next – they are all drinking the 'green' Kool-Aid. Unfortunately, Congress is, too. The only thing — literally, the ONLY thing — standing in the way of oppressive new legislation to combat the myth of environmentalism is you, me, and the rest of the American people who understand that the wackos are just that: wackos.
Speaking of wacko-ness, Windsor Mann writes about the resurgence of Styrofoam as the ultimate evil in this holy war of environmentalism:
Twenty years ago, environmentalists warned that we were in the throes of a “garbage crisis,” the once-popular but now-debunked theory that America was running out of dump space as a result of Styrofoam packaging. In 1989, Jerry Johnson, a former Dow Chemical executive, was forced to debate the issue on NBC's Today with two elementary-school students. He lost.
But apparently something else is renewable: Styrophobia.
In the last two years, one city after another has rediscovered a common pariah in the form of polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam. More than 100 cities including Portland, Oakland and San Francisco have banned it from restaurants and supermarkets. New York State Senator Liz Krueger (D., Manhattan), has been pushing for a statewide ban, and now Hawaii officials are flirting with the same idea. Los Angeles, meanwhile, is forcing residents to recycle the stuff — at tremendous expense. According to a 2006 California Department of Conservation report, the cost per ton of processing the foam is $3,320 — 37 times more than what it is for glass.
Recent developments prove that sometimes evil can be put to good use. Last summer, for instance, work crews in Marin, Calif., installed 4×8 Lego-like blocks of Styrofoam underneath a highway to construct a new carpool lane that runs through the whole county. “It's the same type of Styrofoam you would find in a cup,” said Bill Gamlen, manager of the project. “It will last a good long time.” That's good news. Longevity is an important component in highway infrastructure, as the Minneapolis bridge collapse sadly demonstrated.
Styrofoam's purported 500-year lifespan is no doubt delighting to Joe Wallace, a contractor who used the material to build a house that he hopes “will be a 200-year structure.” As is generally the case with homes, biodegradability is not a plus. That's no problem in this Styrohome, where several inches of concrete-filled Styrofoam provide the insulation formerly left to fiberglass. Dave Briggs, who bought the house, said, “Essentially you're living in a Styrofoam cup.” Ironically, it is constructed out of the very material that critics say hinders sustainable development.
Styrofoam houses have multiple advantages. For one thing, they save money, cutting energy costs in half. Also, because of the vast amount of concrete they use, they are rated as “fire resistant,” which reduces not only the likelihood of a house fire (air pollution) but also the cost of fire insurance. As an added benefit for those who are easily annoyed, the insulation keeps out external sounds, thereby silencing noise pollution. Thus, in one move Mr. Briggs successfully avoids three things: (a) further ecological degradation, (b) poverty, and (c) homelessness. With three of the left's biggest villains stymied, liberal environmentalists should be overjoyed.
Passion is one resource never lacking among world-savers. For them, every minor problem threatens the planet's existence. And though everyone has problems, it is a mistake to assume that those problems are everyone's.
I think this is one of the problems we face – much of the passion on the environmental issue is on the side of the environmentalist nitwits who have bought into the green religion. I'm hopeful that sharing the FACTS with you will prompt a little bit of passion — though I'd be okay if it simply prompted a bit of urgency and a willingness to talk to your friends and make some phone calls to Congress when necessary — on the other side.
Iain Murray writes about a really, really inconvenient truth when it comes to pollution:
In 2002, thanks to soccer star David Beckham, the world was introduced to the “metrosexual.” Two years later, and with less mainstream-media attention, we got our first exposure to “Intersex.”
Intersex is not some new perversion or a weird combination of science fiction and pornography. It is an unfortunate condition that is affecting freshwater fish all over the developed world. It occurs when fish of one sex also exhibit sexual characteristics of the other sex.
In 2004, for example, researchers on the Potomac River, downstream from Washington, D.C., found large-mouth bass that in most respects were males, but who had eggs in their sexual organs. Quite often when this happens to fish, they find themselves unable to reproduce. When it happens primarily to male fish, the fish population in general suffers.
The cause of intersexuality among fish, scientists speculate, is pollution in the water, particularly hormones. Why don't we have more outcries about hormones, and campaigns to save the fish populations? Why aren't environmentalists lobbying on Capitol Hill to keep these chemicals from being dumped into our rivers?
Maybe because the source of these chemicals is not some corporate polluter, but something a little more dear to the Left: human birth-control pills, morning-after pills, and abortion pills.
The environmentalists' silence on this topic and their willful distortions when they do talk about it show how, for many of them, the environment is more a tool for advancing favored policies than a real cause in itself.
As I demonstrate in The Really Inconvenient Truths, by any standard typically used by environmentalists, the pill is a pollutant. It does the same thing, just worse, as other chemicals they call pollution.
But liberals have gone to extraordinary lengths in order to stop consideration of contraceptive estrogen as a pollutant.
What about the activist wing? Well, this is where the story gets really interesting. Environmental groups have a long record of promoting contraceptive use. The current head of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, was once political director of the group Zero Population Growth. Back in 1970, the Sierra Club adopted a resolution, which said that, “The protection of the quality of our environment is impossible in the face of the present rate of population growth,” and that therefore, “Laws, policies, and attitudes that foster population growth or big families, or that restrict abortion and contraception…should be abandoned; [and] comprehensive and realistic birth control programs should be available to every member of our society.”
It's not just environmentalists campaigning for contraception, of course. Their colleagues in the liberal movement use environmental arguments in favor of contraceptive use all the time. Take, for example, the Guttmacher Institute, which in 2006 issued a detailed policy report with the ironic title, “Environmental Justice Campaigns Provide Fertile Ground for Joint Efforts with Reproductive Rights Advocates.”
Marie Stopes International says on the environment page on its website, “There are many pressures on the environment and natural resources, but the environmental challenges humanity faces will become harder to address as the world's population continues to increase. Worldwide, there is still a vast unmet need for contraception. Around 200 million women world wide who want to access contraception, can't.”
Planned Parenthood of America says, “For the past decade, prominent women in the global environmental movement have been advancing an environmental agenda based on feminism and human rights. They believe there are strong links between the health of the environment, the ability of women to engage and lead their communities, and their ability to exercise their inherent reproductive rights. Women have a stake in a clean environment because they are often the main providers of food and water, and their reproductive health can be adversely affected by environmental degradation.”
In other words, in the liberal world, the environment and unrestricted access to contraception are inextricably linked. We therefore have an answer to our question why liberal environmentalists are silent on the synthetic estrogen from contraceptives that is undoubtedly causing real environmental disasters. Because they helped cause them!
Another fine example of liberalism always eventually coming into conflict with itself.
Finally, Diane Katz explains some unintended global consequences of the environmentalist wacko movement living on Planet Gore:
Millions of acres of rainforest are fast disappearing as farmers in South America, Asia and elsewhere rush to clear land for cultivation. Among the culprits is government subsidization of corn-based ethanol — a supposed antidote to climate change.
Every 30 seconds, a child somewhere in the world dies of malaria, according to the World Health Organization. The disease claims more than one million lives each year, although it is both preventable and treatable [using DDT]. But the erroneous claims about the toxicity of DDT in Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1972 to ban the pesticide, precipitating the suspension of spraying in dozens of countries — and the deaths of tens of millions of people.
Tens of thousands of drivers and passengers have perished in crashes because of fuel economy standards. Specifically, government mandates to improve fuel efficiency have prompted automakers to produce smaller cars with lighter materials such as plastics, aluminum, and fiberglass. But a 500-pound reduction in vehicle weight increases crash fatalities between 14 percent and 27 percent annually, according to Harvard University and the Brookings Institution, among others. Moreover, cars weighing less than 2,500 pounds account for two-and-a-half times as many crash fatalities as SUVs weighing 5,000 pounds or more, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
A cholera outbreak in Latin America killed more than 10,000 people and infected up to a million more after the government of Peru limited chlorination of the public water supplies — as demanded by Greenpeace and other environmental activists.
Millions of pounds of apples were left to rot and family orchards were lost to foreclosure following reports that Alar, a common ripening agent, was the most potent cancer-causing compound in the food supply. The American Council on Science and Health later revealed that a child would have to drink 19,000 quarts of apple juice every day for the rest of their life to consume the same amount of Alar fed to mice during tests for cancer.
That's some great progress in the name of saving the environment, don't you think? Thank you, environmentalist nitwits, for the death and destruction you have unleashed upon the world.
I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again here on Earth Day. It appears to me that the only thing environmentalists will truly be happy with is to see humanity vanish from the face of the planet – that way, there would be no more trash, mining, building, driving, flying, procreating, breathing, or any of these other horrible things that they think are causing the planet distress. Okay, fine. I can get on board with that…as long as they go first…
There's my two cents.
Happy Earth Day!