Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Transition to the Dark Green Ages

The first thing to notice about the Transition to Green (PDF) document I referenced Dec 1, 2008 is the cover. It's a beautiful piece of graphic arts work. The photos of nature are stunning. The colors are magnificent. The layout is professional. It's also very subtly vicious.

The cover has a tiled set of four photos, without a single image or even hint of modern human civilization anywhere in sight. No skyscrapers, not even a road through the wilderness. Indeed, no humans can be seen anywhere in any of the images. There is one simple wooden walkway gently meandering through a shady grove, but it looks as if it's never been used.

No one will ever persuade me that is accidental.

Rather, it provides not-at-all subtle clues about the worldview of the authors (or at least the editor in charge). That view is spelled out more clearly, albeit inconsistently, in the sub-title text: "Leading the way to a healthy environment, a green economy, and a sustainable future."

I've got news for whomever selected those platitudes. They're either false, impossible, or already here.

A Healthy Environment

The environment is already incredibly healthy. Anyone who has been alive for several decades, or has ever cracked a history book, knows that the air, water, and surroundings throughout much of the U.S. and elsewhere is enormously improved over what it was 100 years ago.

Water purification systems are safer. Levels of lead and other heavy metals in most urban water systems today are so low they would have been well under the most stringent standards of a few decades ago. By contrast, the water in the New York public system 100 years ago invariably contained ample concentrations of horse manure, lead, and coal particulates.

Urban streets lack the foul smell, not to mention safety and health hazard, of horse droppings common in city streets around the turn of the 20th century. Trash, while hardly non-existent, is so much less prevalent now in the bulk of urban streets that any still extant sticks out like a sore thumb. Few would even think to throw potato peelings, apple cores, and banana peels onto the pavement now, a habit no one on the East Side of Lower Manhattan would have thought odd in 1908.

Smog levels in Los Angeles, once high enough to burn your eyes on the best of days and still far from zero, have been decreasing for decades. Though we tend now to think only of photochemical smog, various forms have been around since Roman Times. The Great Smog of 1952 in London that put thousands in respiratory distress would be unthinkable today.

A Green Economy

If ever such a thing as a 'green' economy did arise, it would arrive in the form of a new Dark Ages. As Jack Wakeland has argued in Environmenatlism's Big Lie, whenever a technology arises that would actually power civilization, the viros are the first to turn against it. Dams used to be considered an 'eco-friendly' power source. Now, they're anathema to the Greens. Currently popular 'green' technology, such as wind farms and solar power are beginning to see now-familiar criticisms.

Many of the hoped-for advances advocated by Greens have little to nothing to do with being 'eco-friendly'. What producer in their right mind would not want their products to be made with a lower energy input? Energy costs money. So does designing more efficient processes, though. Who wouldn't want trash to disappear the moment it became trash? That too, costs money, and potentially cost-effective technology, such as plasma torches that would vaporize it, were — no surprise — heavily criticized by Greens when they first arrived.

Many other proposed changes to business practices are a mere sop to the conscience of a population seeking to escape the guilt inculcated by this new Puritanism. 'Green' banking is an absurdity. 'Green' Apple computers are a gruesome joke.

A Sustainable Future

This item on the wish list is the most absurd of all, given the Greens' disdain of capitalism. If we're to use them at all, the only way to sustain forests, agriculture, and thousands of other resources is to sustain freedom. That is the one thing they most definitely would like to halt. But, then, not using resources at all would be their preferred choice. The cover of Transition to Green is proof enough of that.

No comments: