Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another abstract environmental concept

Environmentalism is rife with good theoretical constructs that sound fine in the abstract but have no practical utility. Examples include carrying capacity, the ecological footprint, its cousin the carbon footprint and, of course, carbon neutrality. All invoke a measure of fear, concern and guilt but none are useful management tools, none are predictive and none empower individuals.

To this litany, there now can be added the concept of water neutrality.

As this excellent commentary by Brendan O'Neill shows, water neutrality suffers from the same over-bearing morality and shortage of common sense that constrain the utility of parallel constructs:
  • Water is life. There is no living creature known to man that can survive without water.
  • To feel guilty about using water is to feel guilty about being alive, to be ashamed of humanity's very presence on planet Earth.
  • Do you know what 'water neutrality' really means? Death.