Bad for environment? but people can be so good
By Patrick Meagher
Earth Day came and went without me having to slap an environmentalist. Not bad.
The greenies were less vocal this year. Not so much talk about people being the problem. Maybe they’re all putting up solar panels. No time to lobby for euthanizing the planet, with special exemptions for those with the ‘right’ attitude.
Self-loathing, however, is not exclusive to the greenies, nor is it a recent phenomenon.
Mankind (a politically correct teacher told me if I say "mankind", instead of "humankind", I’m a bigot), so anyway mankind has been beating himself up for centuries. We blame ourselves for our woes.
Pierre Desrochers, an associate researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute, wrote a wonderful article in The National Post entitled "Humanity:Earth’s best friend."
Desrochers notes that more than 1,800 years ago when the population of the world was about 30 times lower than today, the famous philosopher Tertullian wrote that we have become "a burden to the earth. The fruits of nature hardly suffice to sustain us."
Every generation has its "people are the problem" kind of guys. While people can be a problem, people are as likely to be the solution. We put our minds to it and pollution has decreased dramatically and our water is cleaner than it was 40 years ago. Canada has more parkland, waste disposal per capita is down. Even carbon monoxide levels have decreased more than 70 per cent even though there has been at least a 30 per cent increase in vehicles on our roads.
Desrochers rightly notes that population growth has its benefits.
"A larger and more prosperous population does not just mean more mouths to feed but also more brains and more creative people, as well as more resources for creating more technologies."
Gasoline was a waste product from kerosine production 100 years ago. It was creativity that turned it into something useful, he says. The point is that it is not green-driven regulations that improve life but the need for efficiency, which is inherently demanded by a market economy.
The same goes for farmland. The best stewards of the land are not government intrusions but are most often the landowners themselves, as they have an interest in the value of their property and its use.
The greenies don’t see it. While they continue to blame people and decry population growth, they should be relieved, if they were to think of it, that their parents didn’t take this concocted nonsense to heart before they were born.