Feed on


The more hardcore among the Environmental and ecological economist community have a devotion to a mechanical construction of sustainability. In short, population “pressures” and increasing “affluence” and the increasing ability of consumption to “inflict” environmental damage because of new technology each reinforce one another – leading many in these communities to conclude that our present way of life cannot continue, that we are doing irreversible harm to the planet, and so forth. My point is not to deal with their claims for the time being (we have done so in the past, and will do so in the fture), but rather, I’d like to point our what is perhaps the most hypocritical and disturbing part of the ecological and Environmental program – their reliance on government to help fix the problems.

Despite centuries of evidence that new technology and the power of the human mind can and has overcome what were previously thought to be problems, a central tenet of the ECOmmunity is that even better technology is not good enough to overcome the damage “we” are doing to the environment. We are running out of cheap and abundant natural resources, and any new technology, they say, is no substitute for that. (see tomorrow’s post for an example of the problem with this idea). In other words, the ECOmmunity is generally pessimistic (or outright against) about the application of technology as a way forward to deal with sustainability issues.

So here comes the point of the post: if this is the case, why is it that virtually every self-proclaimed Environmentalist, evey ecological economist, and every environmental organization pressure government to promote green technologies and push the process of technological R&D along, beyond the pace which even the greediest and most environmentally unfriendly private sector seem to be doing? Seriously, if technology, as they believe, is NOT the way forward, then how come technology which comes from government programs is OK?

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