This is really a response to a book review I've not read by Andy May. The book is 25 Myths That Are Destroying the Environment: What Many Environmentalists Believe and Why They Are Wrong, by Daniel B. Botkin. I know it's bad I've not read it but, bear with me, I don't have an issue with any of the myths identified by the author. I'm really more interesting in figuring the Ur-myth, the foundation stone behind it all. The book reviewer says the modern environmental movement is “anti-science, anti-technology, and anti-human. So they often are. Yet many of them seem to be genuinely spellbound by their green politics. With a sense of mission. There must be something positive in the green movement. I think it's their obsession with sustainability. Unsustainable is the evil they fight. Sustainability the good they bring. Their politics are as simple as can be.
Actual point of the blog!
I notice "sustainability" is not listed as a myth but seems to me the foundation myth of green thinking. In fact, I bet the book's author agrees that sustainability is a goal to aim for. Sustainable economics is a thing in economics not a green thing. Sustainability is all the rage, everywhere. Even nuclear power must be sustainable now. If so, who's sustainability and what sustainability? Perhaps Andy gets close when talking about the "balance" myth. Sustainability can be a code for keep it all in balance.
Modern enviros campaign on specific issues: global warming, pollution, for: organic farming and renewable energy, against: nuclear power and GMOs. Yet these are really proxy issues, every one. Their real concern is a sense that our civilization is unsustainable.
- "You can't have infinite growth on a finite planet"
- "We are using up resources at a rate of 2 earths"
Hence their religion of sustainability. It's as much a prophylactic against their fears as a remedy for an unbalanced earth. Sustainability for greens works a bit like political correctness for liberals, equality for lefties. A badge of identity. A way to to both recognize a fellow traveler, and have ones' identity vindicated as a moral being.
One example of how sustainability went wrong is biofuels. Greens never batted an eyelid when these measures were enacted. They lobbied for biofuels. Despite massive biofuel farming being totally unsustainable. A 3-line mantra, each line implying the next, went:
This demonstrates the myth of sustainability. No green biofuel lobbyist looked critically at biofuel to see whether it really was sustainable in a technical sense. They were, in fact, told many times just how unsustainable it was. They railroaded it through as a renewable energy measure. In green parlance all renewables are, ipso facto, sustainable. No evidence, no discussion needed.
That almost demands a digression too. Ipso facto : no evidence, no discussion needed. How often do we see this too from the greens? Does it apply to everyone of their dogmas? Perhaps. Let me relist their campaigns. Global warming, pollution, for: organic farming and renewable energy, against: nuclear power and GMOs. Pretty much a list of things greens assert as good or evil. Often with faked evidence, and dishonest arguments. But that's a digression. The content of the rest of the blog. Let's get back to the sustainability myth.
So concerned are they with over-growth and reducing resource use to sustainable proportions, I might think they'd want to put a cap on population. No way, most are lefties too. Any discussion of population a thought crime. Outlawed as eugenic and/or racist. So they place themselves in the absurd position of making a Malthusian argument without daring to mention population. No wonder they are fundamentally confused, dizzy, people.