Banner
    This Earth Day, Let's Think About People
    By Hank Campbell | April 21st 2011 10:37 AM | 9 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

    View Hank's Profile
    It's Earth Day tomorrow, a day when environmentalists want to remind you that you are a parasite ruining a pristine ecology and there should be less of us.   Well, by 'us' they mean you - they can't be killed or no one would be around to care about the environment.

    Psychology has long recognized a heirarchy of needs - that means until your baser needs are met, like food and shelter, you can't spend time on higher needs like self-actualization and pondering the universe.   On Earth Day, with most of the world economy in a dumpster thanks to gross mismanagement by the world powers, the unemployed are not going to care about lobbying for fewer people being allowed to enjoy nature and are more worried about mortgage payments.   Greenhouse gas levels are back to 1995 levels - and that is a very bad thing, though it is what environmentalists claim to want.

    But prosperity and environmental concern do not need to be in opposition, notes Alex Berezow at RealClearScience, and this Earth Day is a chance to show that.     Like Maslow's heirarchy of needs says, the countries that can be concerned about the environment are wealthy, they are not worried about baser needs like electricity and water - and instead want to keep poor people in the dark.   

    Instead of going back to the 5th century AD, environmentalists need to start lobbying for solutions that are cleaner and help people directly, not ridiculous subsidies for lousy wind technology we know doesn't work and promises of some vague 'green' economy that will appear if the government goes in debt enough.    That is an Earth Day we can all join in on.

    As Alex writes:
    Planting a tree or turning out the lights early is nice, but if you really want to help the planet this Earth Day, send money to a charity that promotes economic development. When the world becomes a richer place, it will also become a greener place.

    Comments

    Hank
    Not sure what the metric is for that.  We lose a lot of food to spoilage and certainly activists will argue we shouldn't have fresh fruit in the winter but progress means making life better and there isn't much point if we have to live like peasants in 1600.  If bananas last 6 days longer a lot fewer will be thrown out by consumers or refused by stores but, like I said, I don't know that the crossover point is for a plastic wrapping resource-wise.

    The market can handle it.   Mixed peanut butter and jelly never took off and if people have to pay more for a plastic banana, they may not want it.    I still can't figure out why anyone buys GoGurt but I know they do.  
    From the Atlantic article you suggested:
    Where does this leave the over-wrapped banana? We need to ignore its provocation. We need to move past our sentimentality for the illusion of pre-industrial practices as key components in highly modernized agricultural practices.
    SynapticNulship
    Most people just want to feel less guilty about their supposed environmental sins.  Hmmm...sounds like religion.  Or they get roped into a social engineering project, like the whole "reusable" grocery bag stuff that won't go away.  It seems to me that it's a much better financial deal for stores like Whole Foods and whatnot to charge for the bags that they used to give out for free.  Whole Foods has a gone a step further and now encourages you to also bag your own groceries by only hiring one (if you're lucky) bagger for all the registers. 
    Gerhard Adam
    Don't get me started on those self-service check-out lines (which I refuse to use).
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    I love those, because they are darn convenient.   The only place where I have found them to be a detriment is HomeDepot - because they never work and a cashier always has to come over and enter things manually.   But at the SavMart or however it is spelled (they bought Albertson's in California) it is nearly flawless and the reason I go there.

    But Wal-Mart does those dopey blue cloth bags in California so I end up going there less - I am not remembering to carry bags with me and I refuse to store them in my car.   When I have gone, I just pile the stuff back in the cart and haul it without bags.
    Gerhard Adam
    I understand that some people feel that way, but if I had wanted to work for those companies, I'd have submitted an application.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    I love them too, and @ my HomeDepot they seem to work most of the time. Lowes, and WalMart on the other hand doesn't have any, WalMart's lines aren't bad(usually), and Lowes never has enough cashiers and therefore long lines.
    Never is a long time.
    So one doesn't use a plastic bag, but if he still buys a bunch of plastic containers and cheap breakable plastic goods ranging from swimming pool plumbing accessories to low-quality Chinese- produced kids' toys, how does that really help the environment? I'm also willing to bet(but I hope I'm wrong) that sales of small garbage bags has gone up since people now have less empty grocery bags at home. Give us more hydroelectric power plants. Give us some onsite carbon dioxide filters. Let us have affordable hybrid cars and some quality non-plastic goods produced here in North America. Bring-your-own-bags and CFL's and $45 000 cars for the priveleged few, as you said, reveals environmental guilt, and does little else.