Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Think about it

One of the joys of cruising the blogosphere is you come across articles that catch the essence of an idea or a question, and phrase it just so, that it causes you to stop and contemplate and realize the deceptive simplicity of the insight they present. Two examples from my perusing today.

First up is this framing of the non-event that was earth hour. Not only was earth hour an example of eco-hype (see here, here and here), it was an example of inaction:
  • The environmental unmovement is not only confused about what is action and what is inaction, but also what is progressive, and what is retrogressive. A consequence - could it ever been realised - of dragging the developed world back to primitive technologies and basic lifestyles is that the expression of political action will also be limited. The environmental unmovement is against mass movements .
Second, are a couple of links from Coyote Blog, which ask simple but profound questions: is global warming hysteria killing environmentalism? and, is government necessary to solve problems? As the blog states:
  • ...this was back in the days when environmental groups actually spent their money on the environment. Today, they spend their money instead on lobbying. The more modern approach is not to spend your own money on the environment, but to lobby the government to force other people to spend their money on the environment.
  • There are still real issues to be dealt with ..which can have far more of a positive impact on health and quality of living than CO2 abatement, but they are being suffocated by global warming hype.
So much of contemporary environmentalism is focussed on lobbying and creating awareness. It seems that most environmentalists are stuck in the 1960s, when awareness needed to be raised. Today's generation have never not known sustainability. The mantra of environmentalism has been force-fed through the school system and is now the very mainstream political dogma 1960s activists campaigned against.

So why stunts like earth hour? Why is it all still protest and get government to act?
Because its easy.

And because the ideology is guided by intellectuals, who as we know, don't actually do anything but do like to hear themselves pontificate. Which is why it is very much a non-movement full of hot air.

Change is difficult and requires active intervention. It also tends to be community based. Lots of people have ideas: there is a shortage of people who can successfully transform those ideas into effective action, and most of them are in business, not government.

Think of the last committee you were involved with. Good intentions, lots of ideas. Shortage of people willing to act, even smaller list of people who acted effectively. Now try to think of a productive, successful business that uses committees as its management structure. Teams, yes. Committees, no.

By definition, committees specialize in talking, organizing more meetings, seeking more funds to secure their continued existence and extolling the need for others to act in accordance with their pronouncements, but they themselves do nothing practical.

Which, of course, is the reason committees are used so much by government: they give the appearance of action but don't actually achieve anything, nor are they capable of achieving anything. In fact, committees are the ideal approach to inaction for policy areas characterized by unmovement such as environment, especially climate change:
  • Just two countries, Somalia and Haiti, are currently living a lifestyle compatible with an 80% reduction in per capita CO2 emissions.

Now there is an advertising campaign:
  • If you liked earth hour, come to North Korea, we live deprivation 24/7!
  • Reduce your carbon footprint: come live poor in Haiti or Somalia!
Think about it.