by John M. Ostrowski
by John M. Ostrowski
harm is there in saying, Lord Cæsar, and in sacrificing,
with the other ceremonies observed on such occasions, and so make
sure of safety?"
from The Martyrdom
imperial official posed the above question to St. Polycarp in 155
A.D. All Polycarp had to do was swear on the emperor’s Genius –
his personal guardian spirit in Roman mythology – perform some sacrifices
for Caesar, participate in the necessary social events, and thus
have his life spared. But Polycarp did not do this and for that
we remember him as one of the great Christian martyrs.
was a deeply engrained part of Roman life – it was difficult for
a Christian to stay completely true to their chosen faith without
appearing at least a tad bit anti-social. Sometimes, when social
isolation and the threat to stability in Roman cities grew too great,
Christians were killed. Not very often, but every now and again.
in the 21st century now. We don’t persecute people because
of their religion, no matter how socially awkward it makes them.
and imperial cults have been left behind, but they have been replaced
by a new religious mythology. It has begun to ingratiate itself
into every aspect of American life, so that simple social activities
demand adherence to the new ideology. The prime deity is none other
than the Earth, or Mother Earth as adherents to the new religion
call it. Adherents treat threats to their deity – quixotic as they
may be – with ultimate seriousness. And the prime threat to Mother
Gaia is anthropogenic climate change. This, of course, is just the
most recent threat to occupy the majority of the environmentalists’
(a name they happily ascribe themselves) ire. In the past it has
been such things as overpopulation, deforestation, man-made global
cooling, nuclear power, etc. As with any religion, there is a church
– the means through which religious goals are effected. That church
is the modern state, for no "sensible" country on this
planet denies that anthropogenic climate change is occurring. Dissenters
from the Kyoto Treaty are treated as churches in heresy – anomalies
that must be re-converted to the faith.
If it seems
absurd that environmentalism is a religion that has inculcated itself
into much of everyday life in America – nay – the developed world,
then chances are you are ignoring the reality around you.
harm is there in … sacrificing … [to] make sure of safety?"
asked the Roman imperial official. Environmentalists demand sacrifices
of people each and every day. Recycling is an activity subsidized
by many levels of the government. Most people – and this is evidence
of the pernicious degree to which environmentalism has ingratiated
itself into the minds of most people – think this is a good thing.
Is it? The promise is that recycling saves money and energy by turning
waste into usable products. If this were actually the case, there
would be no need for subsidization, and the act of recycling wouldn’t
even be sacrificial. Waste management companies would see the economic
incentive in collecting trash and turning into a product that people
will buy. Instead, government needs to subsidize recycling programs
in order to keep them running, meaning recycling is not an efficient
use of energy and resources. As a simple example, it
is often better for the environment and for our pocketbooks to simply
produce new paper than recycle waste paper. American citizens
have to pay for this government indulgence via higher taxes and
wasted time spent sorting and recycling their own waste.
has been beaten into the heads of American citizens by environmentalists
and their state supporters so much that it has become a daily routine
for most. Now, environmentalists are demanding more sacrifice. Carbon
dioxide is the cause of the recent global warming, they claim, and
thus we humans must cut back on our contribution of carbon dioxide.
This means that environmentalists are demanding that we drive less,
use less oil, and find ways to go about our daily business that
use less energy than normal. For many people, this is a hassle.
Environmentalists will counter that one need not make drastic changes
in lifestyle to make a difference. The Internet is littered with
lists of simple ways to help reduce global warming. To anyone willing
to crunch the numbers, it is evident that small changes will not
result in a significant decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. Only
huge changes in lifestyle will result in a huge decrease in human
carbon dioxide emissions.
not surprise us that environmentalists demand sacrifices, for any
religion demands sacrifices. And like other religions, environmentalism
is a human-centered one. Yes, in its purest form, it is Earth worship;
its reverence is directed at something decidedly non-human. However,
the beliefs and tenets of the faith concern humans and their role
in natural history. Inevitably, in the modern world, this role is
an antagonistic one for the environmentalists. Humans are the problem,
and the solution will demand some bane to human beings. It is this
simple fact that has led Peter Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace
and a man who has become disaffected with the environmental zealots,
to call environmentalists "anti-human."
religions seek the betterment of humanity, environmentalism is unique
in that it seeks the opposite. The sacrifices that it demands be
made will result in severe harm for those who need help the most.
In the developing world, environmentalists see an excellent area
for proselytization and a place to implement their policies – for
existing infrastructure is hard to change, but poor countries provide
environmentalists with a tabula rasa. They preach the need
for solar and wind power in the developing world. These two forms
of energy, however, are not reliable or powerful enough for a world
that is looking to industrialize. Imagine, for example, a modern
factory of any type running completely on solar or wind power. Difficult
to imagine? Of course. If the environmentalist vision of the developing
world is allowed to take root, billions of people who can benefit
greatly from industrialization will be condemned to poverty for
the rest of their life. It’s sad that rich, Western environmentalists
are so quick to demand this sacrifice of others. That the people
they demand it of are the ones who will be harmed the most by it
is downright reprehensible.
many religions, there is a strong emphasis in environmentalism on
the end of the world. Fear mongering and predictions of the apocalypse
are the primary evangelizing tools of environmentalists. In the
past we’ve endured warnings about overpopulation, nuclear holocausts,
and now a global climate disaster. And like the apocalyptic predictions
of other religions, those of environmentalism have never come to
pass. But luckily for them, people have a short memory, and fear
is a powerful persuasive tool. By the time it is clear that anthropogenic
climate chance not only won’t cause the end of the world but also
isn’t even happening, no one will remember the hyperbolic claims
made by environmental zealots. Instead, we will be entertaining
their latest apocalyptic fantasy.
It should be
clear, now, that environmentalism constitutes a religion in every
sense of the word. The fact that environmentalism is a religion
does not bother me. If progressives (who constitute most of the
movement) find their lives empty of meaning absent a real religion
and thus decide to channel energy into Earth-worship and all that
it entails, that is their business. When they try to use the violently
coercive powers of the state in their favor, it is fitting that
reasonable people challenge the basis for their beliefs.
In the case
of environmentalists, it is fairly easy to show that their beliefs
are informed by faulty logic and are perpetuated by out-and-out
zealots. The claim of environmentalists is that carbon dioxide is
causing us to experience unprecedented warming. Unfortunately, every
element of this assertion is patently false. First, the warming
humans are experiencing right now is not unprecedented. During the
Medieval Warming Period, which occurred between 800 and 1300 A.D.,
temperatures were higher than they are today. More importantly,
the fundamental assumption of environmentalists concerning global
warming – that carbon dioxide causes warming – is false. If one
examines the timeline that Al Gore used in his movie, An Inconvenient
Truth, which showed the impressive correlation between carbon
dioxide levels and global temperature, one encounters a telling
fact. Changes in global temperature precede changes in carbon dioxide
levels by about 800 years. Carbon dioxide cannot be the cause if
it follows what it is presumed to affect. Why does this phenomenon
happen? When global temperatures rise, the seas get hotter, and
carbon dioxide dissolved in the water starts to escape (gasses are
dissolved more easily in liquids at lower temperatures). Because
of the vastness of the oceans, it takes hundreds of years for ocean
temperatures to rise. And finally, even if one does accept the environmentalist
belief in carbon dioxide as the causal variable, one still has to
deal with the fact that humans are responsible for a very small
percentage of total carbon dioxide emissions. Volcanoes, animal
flatulence, and rotting vegetation all contribute heavily to the
level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Humans currently account
for about four
percent of total carbon dioxide emissions, and carbon dioxide makes
up about 0.038% of the atmosphere. Our effect on Earth’s climate
is extremely minimal at best. All this evidence against global warming,
plus more, is documented very well in the recent British documentary
Great Global Warming Swindle."
Thus far, despite
the apparent falseness of their beliefs, environmentalists have
been extremely successful in achieving their goals. They have convinced
the American people to sacrifice at the altar of Mother Gaia, and
they have turned the already ignoble state into an even uglier beast
– their church, the effecter of their religious goals. If allowed
to continue, they will destroy the American economy and doom billions
of people in developing countries to perpetual poverty. Secularists
are quick to call for a wall of separation between church and state.
It is time that environmentalism be held to the same standard.
Ostrowski [send him mail]
is a senior in journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Visit his blog.
© 2007 LewRockwell.com