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]
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.