Saturday, 14 July 2007

The 'Ethics' of Environmentalism

The environmental ethic that society finds itself in today, is a misguided one. It is politically driven and based round the concept of the 'balance of nature'. It assumes that the natural environment is some kind of perfect 'garden of eden' that has been pushed out of sink, by humanities progress. This misses the fact that nature has never been 'balanced'. The environment has gone through natural periods of hot and cold, it suffers from earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and all kinds of natural disasters, that adversely affect the environment and the species within that environment.

As just one example of a potentially natural disaster, waiting to happen, is the Super Volcano, 'bubbling away' under Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. State of Wyoming and extending to Montana and Idaho. This natural underground phenomena of nature is considered to be, potentially the most destructive force on the planet.

The last recorded eruption of a Super Volcano, was estimated to be between 71,000 and 75,000 years ago, in Toba, Sumatra. The 'bomb-blastic' energy released from this 'super monster' was the equivalent of approximately 10,000 Mount St. Helens. The force unleashed from an eruption, would be frighteningly devastating and cataclysmic. What is particularly worrying, is that since the 1920's scientists have realized that the ground underneath Yellowstone, is beginning to swell up. The upward force, is like a cork on a bottle and when the surface of Yellowstone gives, it will pop open like a champagne cork bottle top.

These Super Volcanoes erupt with an astonishing 'clockwork' regularity, and they come in cycles, approximated around every 600,000 years. The last know 'super eruption' was approximately 650,000 years ago... Yellowstone has past its 'blow-by' date. In the meantime, the pressure underground keeps building.

What is frightening is what scientists tell us: 'It's not a question of if this Super Volcano erupts, rather, it's a question of when'. It is just a scientific inevitability that sooner or later all that pressure has to escape. It has been estimated, that such an eruption would kill everyone within a thousand kilometer radius. The long term effects would be even more devastating, the ash in the atmosphere would block out the suns rays, creating what is know as a nuclear winter, this would devastate crop production and lead to mass starvation. This effect would span virtually the entire globe.

When you weigh-up, the potential effects of natures destructive forces, against humanities, then humanities by comparison, seem very wimpish. The simple fact is, there is no balance of nature, nature has often become unstable and unbalanced (if it ever was balanced?). This is why approximately 98 percent of species that have ever lived, have gone extinct. Most of those extinctions are natures own doing, and have nothing to do with man.

Now, it may well be true, that mankind is now speeding up the process of extinction of species, through the progress of technology. But the fact is, that if you really want to preserve species, then often the best way to do it, is through technological and business progress. If you do not believe this is so, then look at the game reserves of South Africa, one of the few countries in the World, that has developed a successful business model, based around the preservation of exotic species.

I believe it will not ultimately be environmentalists that save species, it will be technology. Scientists are already collecting and preserving endangered species DNA. Scientists are freezing the DNA and tissue of species for future resurrection.

The environmental ethic for the most part, is not driven by the need to save the environment, it is driven by an ideology, which is anti-business and anti-technology. Environmentalists, simply want to slow down and even halt progress. They would be happiest if we went back to a Dark Age mentality, where technology is lost and forward progress is stultified. Of course I am not talking about the naturalists, who do genuine good work to preserve species and collect real environmental scientific data. I am talking about the political element of the environmental movement, which has become very militant, even to the point of terror tactics.

So, rather than an environmental ethic for a consumer age, what we really need is technological progress, driven forward by business, that asks serious scientific questions on what is best for the environment and how we can best apply what we learn.

One question scientists are already asking: is there a way, through man-made technology, that we can prevent or minimize natural disasters, that are potentially threatening and have the ability to destroy us? ...Well, we may well be a long way of from a technology that could prevent a Super Volcano, but if scientists and technologists cannot do it, then environmentalists surely can't.

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