Thursday, November 20, 2014

Environmentalism Reconsidered - Scarcity Doctrine

It is the intention of writer to bring to light to a corrosive element that has appropriated the environmental movement in a manner that has the environmental movement in conflict with the western mode of life. In doing so, this corrosive element is undermining support for the valid efforts of the environmental movement and impairing important change, while attacking the most liberating and vital element of western life, a market based economy. Environment, prosperity and liberty are ours for the taking if we embrace the sheer abundance of the earth and shun with vigour the indoctrination of scarcity that is being propagated by the subversive redistributionist elements. These elements which have co-opted the environmental movement are elements subversive to people’s efforts as environmentalists and subversive to our way of life and the two’s interaction. The concept of “scarce resources” flows from the school of economics, it is amazing to me how so many people who promote themselves as “green” have appropriated scarcity to service their view on redistribution under the vale of “environmental necessities”, and yet somehow managed to ignore the abundance the rest of the school of economics addresses. Scarcity then has blended together under the two banners of social activism and environmentalism. In the first case it is a red herring and in the second it is damaging to the cause.

Scarcity has found prominence in the human psyche because the human psyche has evolved in a position of ignorance to natural processes and hence in subservience to nature. Scarcity comes naturally to humans because hitherto it has occupied much of human existence. Even in times of human abundance, humans find comparative scarcity. The environmental movement is capitalizing on the human inclination to accept scarcity as a reality, what they are failing to realize is that people will accept scarcity in abstract terms; however, when scarcity takes action and people are faced with a reduction in living experience, people will repel scarcity and the environmental moment with it. Environmentalism must be presented and actuated, in the spirit of and with the acceptance of the presence of abundance, to find resonance with the population.
In the world of environomics scarcity lives large in the lexicon and finds expression in terms like “we need to respect the earth’s limits”. Limits occupy the minds of the enviro-economist, every expression of concern that emanates from them seems to be preoccupied with limits. This is evident in the “solutions” they propose. Often when there is a suggestion to utilise resources, it seems there is a misguided person opposing it on the limits of nature, as their minds have been bathed with an interpretation of reality that inaccurately limits human action as a result of misperception of the earth’s capacity being finite as a provider, when infinite abundance is the fact.

Scarcity is a tool used by redistributionist elements to justify redistribution itself. In believing the pie is a fixed size they justify taking from people with wealth to give to the people absent wealth. In reality however, the pie is infinite and persons absent wealth are better served by the expansion of the pie and wide access, than by redistributionist policy.

The environmental movement’s desire for conservation has been appropriated and transferred to scarcity doctrine by the redistributionists. This action serves to attract people to their cause under the guise of environmental concerns, when equality concerns are at the heart of their action. One can debate the appropriateness of equality as laudable societal goal, what is outside debate is the negative effect it is having on the environmental movements efforts. As one who shares environmental concern, I reject out right both the effectiveness and premises for redistribution; so this elements presence in the environmental movements ranks repels me; a source of remorse given my alignment with many aspects of the environmental movement.      

When you examine the “solutions” to “problems” posited by many people associated with the environmental movement as with the redistributionist movement, you find scarcity at the root of their thought processes, resulting in them suggesting constraint of human action as a solution. They want to move us to have and use less. Prudent use of resources is wise, if you need to drive to hospital use a smart car, but go to the hospital. The environmental movement wants to constrain human action, fly less, see less and do less. Certainly, if you can have a wonderful home and can heat it more efficiently, you should, the environmental movement are all too often saying, to do without the nice home. Certainly there are facets of consumerism that are frivolous and their adjustment would serve all concerned. This is hardly a basis to rebuke a mode of interaction that has provided us with historically unparalleled abundance, that mode of interaction being trade supported by a market based system. The legitimate concerns of environmentalism are being challenged by allowing the anti-market economy movement to attach itself to environmentalism’s shirt tails. The perception by people who believe in a market economy as the engine for society, begin to attach rhetoric that attacks their way of life with concerns expressed about the environment. The environmental movement needs to bring resolution to their message, specifying issues of nature in a manner that both allows others to “do business” and engage in actions in accord with natures demands.           
The sum of human action is without limit by our natural environment. Humanities opportunity for an ever richer existence is omnipresent. The environmental movement is fostering a narrative with scarcity at its core, when we exist it ambit of abundance. The answer is outside the cessation of natural resource use, the answer is pursuing a philosophy of abundance with action in accord with nature. Nature is changing, the athropine is here and humans are the catalyst of change. When the sun sets at the close of everyday, the world will be different; this is in most cases good. Adroit human’s action will change the face of the earth while pursuing ever better circumstance for humanity. So by pursuing the multitude of human values, many of which have nature as their genesis, humanity can have abundance in accord with natural requirements. 
There exists an infinite supply of energy. Carbon is our friend. Coal is an excellent source of energy. Three statements that would be considered wrong by conventional wisdom in the context of the public at large. A public inculcated by a readily absorbed narrative “the limited environment” would treat this as heresy. The fact is terawatt after terawatt is entering our atmosphere daily. The fact is carbon is our friend; it is the building block of life. Coal is an excellent source of energy. We need only to apply ourselves to the task of developing technologies that allow access to these boundless realities in a manner that is in compliance with the environment at large. 

Choosing a lens to view the world and issues affecting the world is critical to the culture that will ensue. When a lens of scarcity is placed on an issue, all actions are directed toward claiming possession of resources. When a lens of abundance it placed on an issue, all actions move toward expanding resources. When belief that the earth is a place of abundance and alignment is sought with that abundance, the discourse turns from one of staking territory to one of generosity. The financial market lends affirming testament to this reality, when people believe collectively that markets are ascending, a prosperous circumstance ensues and by contrast when people see scarcity, an impoverished circumstance ensues. This cycle of abundant belief and scarcity belief osculates constantly as the abstract measure of human endeavour, the market place, gives expression human perception. As the inclination toward scarcity is so strong in humans due to their evolutionary backdrop, extreme efforts needs to be activated to bolster a view to abundance and with this view as convention, abundance will emerge – this is the self-fulfilling prophesy of abundance. There are two truths relating to environmental stewardship that need attention. Firstly, the earth is an abundant provider with massive capacity and secondly, natural systems (of which humanity is a part) are in constant change. Today’s beautiful mountain is an erupted volcano tomorrow or today’s caterpillar is tomorrow’s butterfly.

The much maligned market economy, inadvertently maligned by environmentalists and intentionally maligned by redistributionists, really is a thing of beauty. The gestalt which has as its parts, democracy, market economy, the work ethic and healthy self-interest has given us in Canada abundance absent in human experience, and that prosperity is gradually spreading to the rest of the world. In areas of the world where other systems have been at work, humanity lives at the whim of state and tyrant, where environment degradation has been the rule as opposed to the exception. Compare the United States environmental record with the Soviet Unions, neither is perfect, one is just better than the other’s.

Scarcity is the Environmental redistributionist manifesto, Marx and Engles wrote the communist manifesto to promote access to a fair life for the working peoples of the world, a noble work that ended up promoting a dysfunctional mode of governance. It’s safe to say Marxism was high jacked in much the same way as the environmental movement is being, Marxism by totalitarian authoritarians and the environmentalism by the totalitarian authoritarian’s precursor, Marxists activists. Equality is a stupid goal while equity is a laudable goal. Equality forces the ambitious to pay for the less ambitious and forces the less ambitious to engage life at a tempo they would rather avoid. Equity ensures fair treatment regardless of a person’s chosen life cadence. Society and all its component parts when equitably applied become the sub straight of a liberated person’s chosen life; as a piece of paper is a sub straight and we all may choose to commit to it what we will. Deeply embedded in the environmental movement are social engineers, they are eager to impose scarcity on us all in the name of social justice and “the environment” is their cover. They say to impoverished persons in the emerging world, accept subsistence as your life’s lot as the world is a basket of scarcity. There is another message for the impoverished and that message is that the world is an abundant place and we are seeking to give you access to it. As human beings we owe that to each other.

The Canadian narrative has taken many turns holding to a base of modest and unadventurous in many respects. The mass introduction of scarcity to the Canadian narrative will serve to bridle the minds of our people and impair their progress. The narrative of scarcity and the assault on the foundation of Canadian success, the market place, will turn our country’s minds away from respectful fruitful human endeavour seeking harmony with natural processes, to one of consternation and constraint truly putting us on the road to subsistence.        

The concept of the 100 hundred mile diet is laudable in its spirit. The spirit of reducing foods carbon foot print, while sometimes true it is often untrue depending on the product in question. The side benefit of the 100 mile diet is it promotes local agriculture and related cottage industry, which is an asset to any community. The assertion that we should all seek food in close proximity to our place of residence is flawed for a number of reasons. Often the production environment for food is more favourable in other jurisdictions, requiring fewer inputs to produce, even in considering the transportation carbon emissions, the food imported has a smaller carbon footprint overall. This is often the case and each food product needs to be judged on it’s own merit, in this way the100 mile diet can be detriment in the context of reducing carbon usage. To advocate contraction of human endeavour as a solution to anything is errant, it only serves to reduce opportunity for access to abundance and solution. Only by broadening our scope of action technologically, geographically and spiritually; by reaching out to all in the universe and drawing on every human thought, every religion, every mode of action, every unique ecosystem, do we find for all of humanity and nature, health and abundance. When a person’s words have in them limit, explore the extremes of that thought process, if somebody suggests to live on food from within 100 miles, how will your life be when they find a way for you to limit your food collection form a square foot. The world’s regions offer us abundance in different forms, by accessing the whole world; each region’s strengths find complementary expression in the world as a whole. This reality provides us with unimaginable abundance, we I walk into a grocery store the entire world’s bounty is represented there. The most important point here is, more than pleasing my pallet, the important point is that by accessing regional strength efficiency ensues, and in efficiency conservation resides and in this case, conservation provides access to abundance. It takes less energy to grow a tomato in California and truck it to Vancouver in December, than it does to grow a tomato in Vancouver in December. The carbon foot print of a leg of New Zealand Lamb is smaller in London than an English leg of Lamb in London.

An interesting mental exercise to illustrate this point; imagine the world absent state boarders and under the direction of a single democracy such as Canada which facilitates a globally similar living standard. In the absence of national interests; where would people live, where would they mine, where would they log, where would the grow food, where would they do all the things they do. There would be very few people in Canada, because living here is expensive relative to more temperate parts of the world. Manufacturing would occur in temperate areas where people could live inexpensively and less energy was required it heat manufacturing facilities. The examples are endless, but in removing yourself from nationalism and the constraints of boarders, you can begin the un-bias contemplation of where activities are more logically suited to occur. While a world under Canadian management is a pleasant thought, it is unlikely to occur any time soon, what can occur however, is a moderated reality that seeks optimum utilization of the earth’s resources within the provisions of statehood. We are able, through organisations such as the World Trade Organisation, to orchestrate better use of the earth resources in a manner that harmonises human action with the natural attributes of all region’s environments. The unfettered flow of the substrates of life gives birth to the highest and best use of the earth’s resources, the closer we can move toward a free flow of goods and services, the sooner that humanity as a whole will achieve environmental congruency with the earth. Remember, the earth is a single entity without the ability to distinguish China from the USA, the earth functions absent political bias and is one unified ecosystem artificially segmented by political boarders.

The unfortunate reality at the moment is that energy purchased by currency as opposed to being currency. If the world’s currency were energy, then the natural attributes of the globe would enforce behaviour consistent with less energy use and hence less carbon emissions. The unfortunate reality is that we measure human action in currency and human exchange motivated by currency is distorted by national interest and distortions that emerge from government regulations. While global trade is certainly a boon for the environment, even in it’s present state, the world’s asymmetry of prosperity is conspiring to distort human action in ways that are energy inefficient. It is the asymmetry of prosperity that causes the miss creation of goods in one area of the world, when the goods would be better created closer to their user. One influencing factor, among many, is that the labour cost savings in one area of the world is greater than the additional energy costs to transport the goods.

It is the asymmetry of prosperity that is inhibiting the free flow of goods and services throughout the world and the resulting environmental benefits, as people correctly fear for the erosion of their living standards. Ironically, it is the free flow of goods and services that will, if permitted to take their course, facilitate the homogenization of prosperity world wide. This reality may find expression if western governments mitigate the displacement caused in the reconciliation of the  asymmetry of prosperity. In the free flow of goods and services, environmentalist find resolve through the most prudent deployment of resources and the redistributionists may find equity, if not equality, as the dynamic of world trade takes prosperity around the world. It seems ironic when considered in this context that there is opposition from both groups to liberalized trade. It may be the opposition from the environmental movement is caused by the presence of the redistributionist elements influence, because rational thought on the part of environmentalists would have them seeking the most eco efficient means for people to garner goods and services. 

The above discussion considers carbon emissions in the context of the traditional utilization of hydrocarbons, which has inherent in it the releasing of carbon from vast reserves of ancient energy. If we tighten the carbon cycle so that carbon released today is absorbed tomorrow, perhaps through the use of biofuels, then the above point is maybe muted somewhat in the context of energy, but still remains sound in the context of overall utilization of resources.

The environmental movement needs to address outcomes and focus on objectives. Sure, pursue a given action on the land; just meet these objectives for the natural environment - rather than permeating the populous’ consciousness with tie-raids on the evening news exclaiming the coming environmental apocalypse, the very same apocalypse I heard them warning about 25 years ago. I wonder how rational people get influenced by people who can exclaim straight faced that construction of a small hydro project is going to spell the end of a liveable environment for the world’s wildlife, when in fact constructing a small hydro project has the potential to enhance the habitat for wild life and create carbon free power. The environment, far from being degraded, is merely transformed and enhanced to serve humans and potentially other flora and fauna as well. If person’s associated with the environmental movement would engage people with objectives to meet that are absent values that are excessively taxing or stemming from values associated with aversion to change in the context of athletics, the general population would be more eager to extend credence to their assertions. In the 1970s I heard people from the environmental movement predicting we would be out of oil by 2000 and the planet would be uninhabitable. Of course 2000 came and went and the world was fine, needing some adjustment of course, but fine nonetheless. Given the aforementioned points and dynamics, when a just environmental concern is presented, the message is met with a jaundiced eye.

Post a Comment