Last week saw the 50th annoversary of Earth Day.
Earth Day was first observed in 1970. It was envisioned as a global, annual celebration demonstrating support for environmental protection.
Earth Day’s founding principles were simple: sensible environmental stewardship ultimately ensuring cleaner air, land, and water.
These were admirable goals. Steps to ensure future generations would enjoy the same environment as their predecessors. In this context, all reasonable people are "environmentalists."
Unfortunately, the modern interpretation of Earth Day is convention of shrill, global activism, abounding with calls to action that run counter to sound environmental stewardship.
Unfortunately in 2020, many activists are trying to exploit the global coronavirus pandemic to advance an extreme climate agenda.
For example, Bloomberg columnist James Gibney tweeted, "Coronavirus is God's way of getting us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post both recently lamented that an "upside" and a "positive" of coronavirus is that emissions are falling. The Sunrise Movement said the U.S. government must respond to the coronavirus pandemic with "unprecedented investment in the Green New Deal."
It is for this reason that in recent years, there has been increased concern amongst old-guard environmentalists. Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore has long divorced himself from the environmental movement he started, describing it last year as one where science has been taken over "with superstition and a kind of toxic combination of religion and political ideology."
Moore went a step further to say of the disturbing fanaticism surrounding climate change “science" is "the biggest threat to the enlightenment that has occurred since Galileo."
Some green activists also have taken to legally questionable tactics. Quartz reported that "Breaking the law is the future of climate protests."
Last year British group Extinction Rebellion stuck to that and mobilized a week ahead of Earth Day to target companies and demand the government declare a climate emergency.
How did they do this?
They glued themselves to rotating doors, blocked bridges from motorcars, and jammed traffic. It should be noted that membership to Extinction Rebellion requires signature of a pledge stating their willingness to break the law and be arrested.
This begs the question: do childish tactics like make a clear point and persuade someone to join one’s side?
Or, do they rather foment disdain for activists that advocate self-aggrandizement over constructive discussion?
The answer to that should be pretty clear.
The goal here is not to engage but to feed a need for validation through criminal mischief.
Otherwise they would do something useful like clean up a park.
Certain green activists’ out of touch reality is best illustrated by their disillusion with natural gas. To the cult of the extreme environmentalist, any fossil fuel is evil – but just a few years ago The New York Times ran the headline "The Poor Need Cheap Fossil Fuels" because of its affordability as an energy source for low-income Americans.
The more advancing technology allows renewable fuels to come online the better, of course, but natural gas is a reliable bridge fuel. It’s cleaner and cheaper than other fuels. While natural gas prices peaked in 2008, the prices have come down by about 25 percent while also helping reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions their lowest level since 1985.
Natural gas’ emergence and displacement of other resources like coal is one of those times when the free market, quality of life, and sound environmental policy show that we can indeed have our cake and eat it too.
Indeed while it might make the social justice warrior feel good to harass natural gas producers, said warriors aren’t proposing any constructive solutions to reduce carbon emissions.
Many natural gas producers are partnering with state and federal agencies to organize, fund, and execute programs nationwide to protect endangered species like the Alaskan grizzly bear or the lesser prairie chicken.
Other initiatives help protect habitats through coastal resiliency and watershed protection projects.
Earth Day was created on the idea of a shared planet and shared solutions. But 50 years on, climate change has become the gospel of extreme activists who promise salvation — but only if you give them absolute power over your life. Nonsense like the Green New Deal is its bible, and the likes of Bernie Sanders and AOC are false priests who want to decide how we live our lives.
And if Patrick Moore’s rebuke is true that climate dogma is blasphemy then the enviro-inquisitors will need natural gas for burning heretics like me.
Jared Whitley is a long-time politico who has worked in the U.S. Congress, White House, and defense industry. He is an award-winning writer, having won best blogger in the state from the Utah Society of Professional Journalists (2018) and best columnist from Best of the West (2016). He earned his MBA from Hult International Business School in Dubai. Read Jared Whitley's Reports — More Here.
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