Solar System Day

Regular readers know that I hate the earth and the environment.

Well, not really, but I’d imagine that some of the more deluded among them believe that. And I am opposed to many so-called environmentalists. But it’s not an anti-environment position so much as an anti-anti-humanity and anti-anti-free market position.

So I do have trouble getting into Earth Day. I find the notion far too blinkered and unimaginative.

Yes, earth is special and, as we learned over forty years ago (shortly before the first Earth Day), looks like a very precious and fragile jewel against the black background of an unimaginably vast, sterile and hostile universe.

But it’s just one planet of uncountably many, and we don’t just live on a planet, we live in a solar system, a galaxy, a universe. In fact, while there’s an implicit recognition of this in the worship of the sun by the renewable energy types, they’re insufficiently open minded about the use of the rest of the system as a source of resources whose harvesting would be much gentler on the planet than mining them here, if it could be done cost effectively.

I’d like to see Earth Day used as a platform to focus a lot more attention on the environmental benefits that space technology has brought us over the past half century, from data gathering on deforestation and pollution, communications that allow less business travel and more telecommuting, to space-based navigation that saves fuel and lives. I’d also like to see consideration of the even greater future potential for saving the planet via space.

I actually do share the goal of the anti-humans of wanting to reduce the environmental burden of humanity on the planet, and I don’t even necessarily object to the goal of reducing the terrestrial population, as long as we can dramatically increase the extraterrestrial human population, because I’m one of those people who think that human minds are the ultimate resource, and that you can’t have too many of them. But the way to achieve that goal is to open up space, not to simply reduce the human population on earth, by whatever means necessary (and many of these folks think that end will justify any means).

Back in the seventies, many of the L-5ers were hippies who recognized the peaceful potential of space colonization to gently depopulate the earth and make it into a giant natural park, with the vast bulk of humanity living and producing off planet the wealth, via industrial-intensive processes, that would make such a thing affordable. I wasn’t a hippy, but I thought then, and still think, that a wonderful ultimate goal.

But the means to achieve it are not more constraints and taxes on current energy use, or population. It is to deploy technologies that can actually achieve the goal — nuclear, molecular manufacturing, fusion (if we can do it), and low-cost space access, which might eventually make space solar power and extraction of other extraterrestrial resources for use on earth economically feasible.

Golda Meir once said that there would be peace in the Middle East when the Arabs started to love their children more than they hated the Jews. Similarly, the planet will be saved when many of the watermelons who claim to care for it start to love it more than they hate humans, freedom, individualism and technology.

[Thursday morning update]

Save the humans:

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency did bravely move forward by finding that things like smokestacks and breathing — or anything related to greenhouse gases — endanger the public health and welfare. And since the EPA can now regulate CO2, it can have a say in nearly everything we do with little regard for silly distractions like economic tradeoffs…

…What’s worse than the EPA grabbing power over CO2? Well, leading Luddite and Congressman Henry Waxman is worse. His proposal sets carbon reduction goals of 20 percent by 2020, 42 percent by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050, and, with cap-and-trade, effectively nationalizes energy production.

This incremental destruction of prosperity is probably going to have to be modified as soon as citizens get a taste of reality. But how could any reasonable or responsible legislator suggest an 83 percent cut in emissions without any practical or wide-scale alternative to replace it, or any plan to pay for it all?

Well, that assumes that Henry Waxman is reasonable or responsible, when the available evidence indicates otherwise.


10 thoughts on “Solar System Day”

  1. Some of the enviromentalists are making value-based judgments. Others are making technology-based judgments, i.e., “we can’t live on other planets yet.”

    Which is accurate, for some value of “yet.”

    Public opinion is rarely monolithic, which is why people and groups that successfully build majorities offer multiple reasons for getting on the bandwagon.

  2. Terrestrial population is approaching a climax
    The result of the developing countries slowly becoming developed, and their people getting wide access to birth control and getting introduced to leisure. It’s scary to think what wacko enviros will be pushing 50 years from now when our problems may be too few people rather than to many.

  3. Isn’t one of the Founders of Earth Day in jail for murdering his girl friend? Another reason to celebrate the solar system instead. The solar system needs “greening” and we’re the vector!

  4. A progressive liberal (or almost any liberal) “thinks” on an emotional level. Talk to an engineer, physicist or scientist if you want to know about technology. They can even explain how to think logically if you have a lot of time for them to explain.

    A corollary is that if it’s in the Main Stream Press and on National Network or almost ANY cable news channel, it is FALSE. I think this is purposely done to influence people who “think” with their emotions.

    That’s why I cancelled ALL print media and cable TV.

    Read great books, protest against the government, prepare yourself for the upcoming catastrophes, then sit back and relax.

  5. Chris – And it is also arguable that it should be a very long time before humans live on any planets other than Earth.

    The only planets that humans could live on without really heroic measures are Mars and the Moon, and even there the environment would cause just as many problems – if not more – than that of a space habitat. No air, bathed in lethal radiation, and so on. The radiation problem could be solved with a few metres of dirt, of course.

    It’s probably more difficult to build really large structures under gravity, too. Of course, on Mars or the Moon one only has sunlight roughly 50% of the time, to add to the problems.

    Apart from a fairly small mining colony on the Moon (which would probably be viewed much as oil rigs are today as a place to live) I see no reason to live on any other planet and every reason to stay in orbital habitats – until, of course, it becomes a relatively easy proposition to terraform Mars. Venus will remain a hell world for a very long time indeed, and the moons of the outer planets have their own problems as colony sites – the chief of which is that one would have to take heroic measures to stop the ground melting under one’s feet.

  6. Fletcher, Paul Birch differs with you on the time needed to terraform planets.

    None of this seeding with bacteria and waiting a millenia or ten. For him, it’s all a matter of engineering. Pretty heroic engineering, it’s true, involving giant solar mirrors, (or sunshades), steampipes, heatballs and steam rockets, but engineering nonetheless.

    To be sure, he laments the dearth of terraformable planets in our solar system and concedes that space habitats will be necessary as well, but he has some pretty good ideas for those, too.

  7. The direction all this is moving just pisses me off, and the majority of the damage will be done before the Great Teleprompter Reader’s 1st term is done.

    The old car hobby is finished. Not only is it my hobby, it occasionally supplements my income.
    But, the end’s been coming a long time. I’m tired of writing unresponsive politicians who can’t understand this pursuit, and I am getting too old to play with these damn toys anyway.

    What worries me more is people like the one I saw on O’reilly. The one who is with an org that is against fat people.

    No, I’m not fat, but criminalize a condition, because you believe they consume more than the arbitrary set point, then everybody is fair game.

    Goodbye leisure travel, picking your comfort level on the thermostat, or just cut to the chase:

    Goodbye to personal free choice, about anything.

    What the greens can’t legislate, they’ll do by guilt.

    I can’t wait to experience the bullshit that the educational system will spoon-feed my son once he gets to school. (he’s 15 mo now.)

    Al Gore will be elevated to the level of MLK by then.

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