Environmentalism has become a hot topic lately. The argument for and against is becoming increasingly loud as it relates to climate change and green technology. You can see both sides and they are not mutually exclusive.
Environmentalism is as old as the human race but has become a topic of intense debate in the past few years. It comes down to two primary viewpoints – good and bad. The question is: which one is right?
The argument for environmentalism, especially if we are referring to the conservation of energy, resources and their protection, is that it provides a means for human beings to progress in civilization. It provides improvements in human health, comfort and welfare. And it provides a means of supporting economic growth.
Some say it is a negative: it causes a lack of enjoyment in life, a growing disparity between the rich and poor, and ultimately an unstable economy. These folks would be the naysayers.
While there is some truth to these claims, there is also a lot of truth to the statement that if we don’t act now, we won’t have any jobs. Environmentalism in our society is seen as a good thing. We can’t afford to lose the jobs we have now. So we’re going to do what’s best for the economy. And we’re going to protect our natural resources. And we’re going to continue to rely on natural resources so they continue to serve us and us only. It’s a balance that has been sought since the beginning of time. This philosophy stems from the natural world and has served us well. But it can become an emotional issue.
Let’s examine these statements one by one.
“It causes a lack of enjoyment in life.”
True enough, if you stop to think about it. It’s like saying someone “causes a lack of food”. You can no more “lose” food than you can “lose” water. Energy is like food. It is essential to our survival. How can we “lose” energy? But “cause a lack of enjoyment” doesn’t mean that you don’t have fun anymore. You can have fun with less oil and enjoy your life with less oil.
“It causes a growing disparity between the rich and poor”.
Again, this is true. But our great wealth comes from our oil. That’s how we can afford to spend all our money on nice things. It’s how we can afford to build lovely countries, like Switzerland, so that we can have fabulous holidays. But it’s also how we can afford to fund new roads and bridges, schools and hospitals, planes and automobiles. The oil allows us to enjoy life “with a lack of enjoyment”.
“It eventually undermines the foundations of society.”
It is ultimately the founders fault that we have these “distinctions between the rich and poor”. It’s also the fault of the religious right who’ve created the “culture of greed” but ultimately it’s the fault of all of us who use oil. If we didn’t use oil we wouldn’t have the “prosperity-driven demand for more oil”. As human beings we need oil to keep our minds “in a growing disparity”.
I was watching the video about “Loss of Enjoyment” and as I watched the phrase kept repeating in my mind. “It eventually undermines the foundations of society”. And the phrase was in direct reference to the US Constitution, which has, essentially, said that we the people have the right to self-govern and be decide our own destiny. And “loss of enjoyment” is my way of saying we the people are going to have a lot less fun now. Because the foundation of our society is going to be shaky because we the people don’t have the foundation of our lives to be decided by us. It’s going to be shaky because there will be, essentially, no integrity in our society. We the people will not be able to trust anyone anymore because there will be no moral authority. It will be impossible to have a culture of integrity and have no wealth disparity. And this is what ultimately is what “Loss of Enjoyment” means.
The US Constitution was written in 1787, right in the heart of the industrial revolution. And in the nearly 170 years since the Constitution was written wealth has become more defined, more unequal and more concentrated. And the wealth disparity has become more extreme, largely due to the rise of oil. And oil is so crucial to our way of life that we will be hard-pressed to exist without it. In fact, it’s hard to imagine our way of life continuing without oil. And if oil ceases to be available we cannot survive.