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The Forum > Article Comments > Look on the bright side > Comments

Look on the bright side : Comments

By Richard Heinberg, published 12/6/2009

Reasons to be cheerful: here are some items that should bring a smile to any environmentalistís lips.

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It seems that what environmentalists are opposed to, is human activity and indicators of social co-operation in general.

But of course, no-one has a gun at their head forcing them to participate in the benefits of the global division of labour, and for millions of years, these things were unknown to human society.

Why donít environmentalists just stop using fossil fuels, cars, housing, blankets, heating, lights, and computers? The Aborigines lived in Australia without any of those things, so obviously we don't *need* them.

What makes environmentalists think they are entitled to use these things, which are obviously so offensive to their values? Why do they think they have to force other people, who donít agree with their opinions, to do what they themselves are not willing to do voluntarily?

Or is it human life itself that they don't like, because underneath all the piety, the ostentatious self-flagellation, and the hypocrisy, that's certainly what it seems like.
Posted by Wing Ah Ling, Friday, 12 June 2009 11:07:16 AM
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WingaLing........

Strange you didn't canvas why we vote for the b......s?
Posted by ShazBaz001, Friday, 12 June 2009 11:21:52 AM
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Sure the Global Financial Crisis has knocked consumption on the head for a time. It happens during a bust, but markets are dynamic - they recover and (unfortunately) forget about the original problem. We can only hope that the Americans learn their lesson and improve regulation of their financial system. However, to suggest that the financial markets will somehow alter their function or fail entirely is complete fantasy.
CO2 emissions - the rate of increase may slow, perhaps stop for a time, but I doubt if it will make any long term difference. There may be a detectible blip on the graph, then again there may not..
Road - vehicle miles - the relationship is not as simple as one might think. The stated relationship in the article is that the more vehicle miles mean that more roads get built. Its the other way round.. the more roads that are built, the more car miles are driven.
Compared to Australia or Europe, America is a decentralised place with little in the way of public transport (again, compared to other advanced countries). You can do without a car in New York, as I understand it, but anywhere else and a car is a near necessity. This isn't going to change anytime soon.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Friday, 12 June 2009 11:50:07 AM
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Good Lord.

I kept waiting for a hint - any at all - that the author of this disgusting piece was being in some way ironic. Nope.

Wow, Richard, you must have giggled with glee after Hurricane Katrina, popped the champagne when the Boxing Day Tsunami struck, and positively danced in the streets after the Sichuan Earthquake.

This is the most despicable article I have ever read on this forum.
Posted by Clownfish, Friday, 12 June 2009 12:35:23 PM
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Guys, the writer specifically stated that many environmentalists were afraid to make these pretty damn obvious points, because people would react with the over-the-top comments, displayed perfectly by Clownfish.

If you disagree with global warming, I get it. Fine. If you disagree specifically with any particular environmental issue, fine.

But please, don't pretend humans aren't having some kinds of negative impacts on our environment. That's all I'm asking.

The logical corollary is that reductions in consumption leave a reduced imprint on the environment.

There. Quite simple. But to say that outright seems to invite venom and accusations of hatred of mankind.

Christ. The author specifically stated that such things would be 'tragic' and an 'unimaginable nightmare.'

He wasn't advocating enforcing such things. He wasn't dancing in the streets about these things at all. But he states that from one perspective, there are benefits, which is true. It results in less resource depletion.

But I suppose that requires a more thoughtful response.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Friday, 12 June 2009 1:22:03 PM
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Since the mid to late 1940's to 2007, western humanity and certain other developed or developing countries have enjoyed growing prosperity and happiness such has rarely been seen in past civilisations, but the start of this unprecedented run actually began in the mid 1800's when the first commercial oil began to flow.

Without the energy found in cheap and abundant oil and gas, practically nothing you see around you today would have been possible. It's doubtful that anything in the room in which you currently sit could exist without oil input and Heinberg is correct when he suggests that the cheap and abundant energy so enjoyed throughout the oil era and the lifestyles it funded is about to slide into decline.

The past 160 years have seen exploitation of the greatest source of energy the world has ever known, but the biggest fields have already been discovered and are in decline. The decline rate is surprising in some instances (Cantarell oil field Mexico). Kids growing up hoping to mimic their parents and believing they have a 'right' to use personal transport are soon to receive the worst news of their tiny little lives. The oil game is over for the average person. Heinberg has sounded the alarm loudly. Perhaps it's time to listen.
Posted by Aime, Friday, 12 June 2009 2:27:57 PM
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