by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When an environmentalist says he or she wants to “save the planet” be sure to ask: “For whom?” Because often it seems like they’re not doing it for people at all.
The anti-people nature of environmentalism is sometimes just a matter of minor inconvenience, as when environmentalist policies force upon us flickering light bulbs, weak showers and toilets, and front-loading washing machines.
Sometimes the imposition is greater, resulting in higher energy costs, the destruction of industries, and the degradation of human health.
For instance, the Economist recently lamented, “More poor people are eating meat around the world. That means they will live longer, healthier lives, but it is bad news for the environment.”
Greater meat consumption in the developing world is a result of wealth, and, the Economist admits, a cause of health. Yet, if more Africans eat meat, this “will raise Africans’ collective contribution to global climate change.” So “the environment” now matters for reasons outside of human health? …
… Human life is better today than it was 100 years ago, by far, and it had improved from 1000 years before that, and so on. What has improved mankind’s state? It wasn’t climate change. It wasn’t aliens. It was human ingenuity.
In other words, humans are a net positive. At least, that is so, if what you care about is human health and happiness. Too many environmentalists think people are a net drain. Or at least they think some people are.