Rational vs. Religious Environmentalism

Just over ten years ago, the world lost Michael Crichton, best selling author and screenwriter, who succumbed to cancer at age 66. His loss was greater than we could know at the time, because during the final years of his life he became increasingly focused on the politicization of science. Few critics of this corruption, if any, are as articulate and influential as Michael Crichton was in his time. And yet it is politicized science, and the justifications it provides activists, journalists, politicians, and corporate opportunists, that is now more dangerous than ever.

Crichton’s scientific background – obtaining a medical degree in 1969, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies – distinguished him from the typical author of thrillers, and informed his life-long interest in science and technology. To put it another way, whenever Crichton expressed skepticism with this week’s environmental crisis of the century, he had credibility.

Probably the most succinct and moving example of Crichton’s thoughts on this topic came in the form of a speech he gave in 2003 at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club entitled “Environmentalism As Religion.” The transcript offers a compelling defense of rational environmentalism vs. environmentalism as a religion, and warns against the politicization of science. Here are some of the key points he makes:

“DDT is not a carcinogen…the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people…”

“Second hand smoke is not a health hazard and never was.”

“The evidence […] Read More

An Environmentalist Agenda for Earth Day 2010

Back in 1970 when we celebrated the first Earth Day, what would we have thought if we had known what environmentalism would become by 2010? Back then I was in 7th grade, and an avid member of my Junior High School’s “ecology club.” We planted trees, collected litter, and painted all the garbage cans on campus green, among other things. And back then, as now, the teachers were enthusiastically encouraging the students to care about the planet.

The results ensuing in the 40-50 years since “Silent Spring” was written and the first Earth Day was celebrated are impressive. When I grew up in California’s Santa Clara Valley in the 1960’s, on a bad air day you couldn’t see the Santa Cruz Mountains five miles away. Then we got rid of unleaded gas and mandated catalytic converters and today, with ten times as many people living in what we now call the Silicon Valley, there is never more than a faint wisp of smoggy haze, even on the worst days. We cleaned up our rivers, got rid of acid rain, saved the Condor and countless other magnificent wildlife species, and on and on and on. And then we went too far.

Today environmentalism is run amok. It is the creator of artificial scarcity, the enabler of the very corporate greed its denizens naively decry, it is a faith and a religion, an ideological smokescreen for statism and socialism, and it has lost most of its connection to the original values we […] Read More

Ruminations on Optimal Governance

If there were two words to describe how we might ensure our civic finances were sustainable, abundant, equitably collected and equitably distributed, it might be this – “Optimal Governance.” That theme, along with Civitas Fidelis, is a guiding principle for what we believe and advocate. There is a great deal of analysis and commentary, posted onto our earlier site EcoWorld (sold in May 2009) that can provide useful information and insight into many of the key issues surrounding these themes. With no further ado, here are 20 favorites:

The Abundance Choice – March 28th, 2009

Smart Growth, or Green Bantustans? – March 17th, 2009

Calculating Employee Compensation – February 8th, 2009

Humanity’s Prosperous Destiny – January 16th, 2009

The Tyranny of Unions – January 6th, 2009

Principles of New Suburbanism – November 23rd, 2008

Bonds Are Taxes – October 22nd, 2008

Abolish Public Employee Pensions – October 7th, 2008

The Crichtonian Green – September 26th, 2008

Rational Environmentalism – September 23rd, 2008

The XXIX Olympiad – August 8th, 2008

Lucky Lucky America – August 1st, 2008

Assault on Reason – June 3rd, 2008

California’s Global Warming Act […] Read More