the film
Commentaries and editorials

Environmentalists Want it Both Ways

by Don Wilbur, Guest Columnist
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 20, 2006

As a layman, I read and listen to the media caterwaul about global warming and the related energy crisis. First, there are the activist-environmental groups whose funding is largely dependent on selling crises. Second, there are the pseudo scientists whose grants for funding and peer prestige rely on feeding data to the environmentalists' feeding frenzy. Third, there is the media, whose livelihood depends on crisis reporting. Fourth, there is a large segment of the public who has been propagandized by the three groups and is panicked. Finally, there are the rest of us who look in wonder as the world tries to spend our way out of a perceived catastrophe to the detriment of our standard of living.

The truth is we humans are using the historical sequestered carbon that has been stored in the trees, oil, coal, gas, etc., and releasing the carbon into the atmosphere. There is no doubt there are more carbon compounds in the atmosphere and there is an attempt to tie this phenomenon with a rise in global temperatures. There have been numerous computer models crafted to correlate the rise in the Earth's temperature to an increase of carbon. Of course computer models are only as good as the data input and the assumptions made by imperfect humans.

The Little Ice Age ended in the mid-1800s and the earth has been warming since then to match the Earth's temperature before the Little Ice Age. Carbon didn't seem to be related to warm earth before the start of the Little Ice Age, then the subsequent cooling and finally the Earth's warming after the mid-1800s. However, the pseudo scientists can undoubtedly rationalize this phenomenon and continue furnishing "data" to the environmentalists and the media to propagandize the public and the politicians. In addition, uncontrollable natural events contribute to global climate, such as volcanoes and the sun's behavior. For instance, volcanic activity has been known to turn summer into winter for short periods of time in certain parts of the world. It appears man's feeble efforts to control the weather are futile and perhaps detrimental.

Carbon-based energy is necessary to fuel the world's industrial machine to maintain civilization as is presently known while improving the world. It is a fine balance between a "land of plenty" and world starvation. (Note that almost 30 million Chinese starved in the early 1960s.) The environmental activists or dreamers have no role to play in influencing this balance. Common sense must prevail if the world's population is to be fed and cultured.

There is no doubt the world's energy requirements can be met in the foreseeable future with the present reserves of non-renewable oil, gas, coal, etc.; however, it is prudent to substitute non-renewable resources with renewable resources. Even so, the environmentalists are attempting to eliminate renewable or non-carbon resources from the energy equation. Nuclear power cannot be expanded in the United States and an effort is being made to eliminate this source of power. Also, hydroelectric dams are being phased out and present dams are being attacked (the Elwha and Snake River dams). The underutilization of those power sources results in the depletion of the world's oil, coal and natural gas. Meanwhile, renewable trees must be preserved, reducing energy-friendly building and paper products plus wood-fiber energy.

The environmentalists dream of future energy alternatives while taking away present energy technology and resources, which increases the use of coal, oil and natural gas. And, of course, the development of these resources in the United States is curtailed or made uneconomical by the environmentalists' demands to cease drilling or mining under the guise of environmental excellence.

Don Wilbur lives in Tacoma.
Environmentalists Want it Both Ways
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 20, 2006

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation