Environmentalism: It’s easy being Green
Contrary to the song by Frank Sinatra and Kermit the Frog, it is actually very easy being green. In fact, humankind should welcome the current enthusiasm for protecting the environment from whatever harm humankind might be inflicting.
Unfortunately, some folks want to politicize environmental protection in order to use it as an issue to gain partisan advantage. But if we examine the facts, it becomes apparent that politics need not have a role in environmental protection.
For example, it is a scientific fact that, over the centuries, global temperatures rise and fall in cycles. That leaves us with two questions: Does humankind contribute to climate change? If so, is humankind having a positive or a negative effect on the environment?
Scientists are divided on the answers to those two questions. That being the case, what we should be doing (for now, anyway) is a no-brainer. We should adopt as our guide the gambit known as: Pascal’s Wager.
For those who missed Philosophy 101, here is what Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher-mathematician, had to say: “It is abundantly fair to conceive, that there is at least 50% chance that the Christian Creator God does in fact exist. Therefore, since we stand to gain eternity, and thus infinity, the wise and safe choice is to live as though God does exist. If we are right, we gain everything, and lose nothing. If we are wrong, we lose nothing and gain nothing. Therefore, based on simple mathematics, only the fool would choose to live a Godless life."
Thus, in the context of the current debate over the environment, it makes sense to recognize that the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere rises and falls and, if humankind actually has something to do with the rise and fall of atmospheric temperatures, we should do what we can, within reason, to reduce our impact upon the environment.
Space does not permit a laundry list of all the things we at home can do to be kind to the environment, recycling being just one example. Some of us work harder at it than others. As always, there are those who just talk the talk. Senator John Edwards and former Vice President Al Gore being two notable examples of merely talking the talk.
Fortunately, they are of little consequence because improvement of the environment really depends on the quiet, unheard of folks who turn off unneeded lights, consolidate necessary automobile driving, keep their engines tuned, tires inflated, use energy efficient lighting, etc.
But the record with regard to the infamous Kyoto Treaty needs to be set straight. The Kyoto Treaty was presented by Democrat President Clinton to the U.S. Senate for ratification. But by a vote of 98-0, the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to even bring it up for consideration.
Why? Because the limitations on carbon emissions that Kyoto would have imposed targeted the United States and other western industrialized nations while doing nothing to reduce carbon emissions from the worst polluters: Red China, India, Russia and her former satellites, and the Third World. Kyoto then should be understood as an attempt by nations with repressive governments and/or failed socialist economies to cripple the burgeoning economies of nations where freedom and capitalism combine to produce the highest standards of living the world has ever known.
Understandably, the Kyoto Treaty omitted the cooking and heating fires that burn night and day throughout the Third World. Primitive societies must burn wood or whatever they can find to boil water for drinking, to cook food and to have heat. Having spent nights in the small villages of several Third World countries, I can testify to the constant, sooty cloud that hangs over these villages. The smoke forms a Third-World cloud blanket often visible via satellite.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and its free-market, industrialized allies have done a remarkable job of reducing carbon emissions. But the environmental malefactors, given political cover by the Kyoto Treaty, continue to blow millions of tons of sooty carbon into the atmosphere without pause.
Syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, William Hamilton, is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval War College and a former research fellow at the U.S. Military History Institute of the U.S. Army War College. Writing as William Penn, he, and his wife, are the co-authors of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2007. William Hamilton.