One reason I now distinguish between “E”nvironmentalism and “e”nvironmentalism is that there has been a sea change in attitudes in the environmental community over the past three decades. When I was a Boy Scout and when I first started joining hiking clubs some 20 years ago much of the literature I read was closely dedicated to conservation and the classics from Muir to Leopold were common. Even Rachel Carson was writing in a very different time than today.
The essence of these works (for me) was that folks who wished to see more protection of environmental amenities were lashing out against the elites and the concentrated and raw power of government who often paved a trail of environmental destruction in their efforts to promote economic development or some other outcome. I remember reading many a piece about the potential problems created by damming up important waterways beyond the obvious benefits. These old environmentalists sounded to me very much like the economists of today. Think about dams again: while they were built for flood control and irrigation purposes, they also had the strong probability of contributing to deforestation (from the development which surrounds the new dam) ultimately reducing the net flood control benefits. The dams famously destroyed many salmon habitats, they alter the soil richness of the area downstream from the dam, they increase the possibility of insect borne diseases because of the slowing of water both above and below the dam and so on. Furthermore, it used to be the case that the environmentalists would be very concerned about the property rights of people who were forced to sell property in the name of economic development.
And this is why I do not label myself an “E”nvironmentalist anymore. Rather than understanding humility in the face of complex problems. Rather than being skeptical of simple solutions for interventions in complex ecosystems today’s crop of “E”nvironmentalists is practicing just the opposite. Now there are some in the modern environmental movement who do not commit to these mistakes. For example, there are some global warming activists who do correctly articulate that the climate is a complex system and that we ought to be thoughtful about messing with it because we simply do not know what may happen. That is a far more defensible position, and one I support, than others in the community who argue that the technocrats running climate models have anything near a complete understanding of an infinitely complex system and furthermore that we can and should entrust the experts in green industries and in government not only to know how to intervene to “fix” the problem but that they will do so honestly without in any way directing funds and priorities into things that benefit themselves or their colleagues.
The “e”nvironmental community used to be incredibly skeptical of the latter. For a great illustration of how simple interventions in complex ecological systems can and do have many unintended consequences, you would enjoy reading Allston Chase’s excellent book Playing God in Yellowstone.
Which brings me to the thing that inspired this post: 65 year old California man tortured in LA county jail for daring to … peddle raw milk. I actually “like” to see this. In the past two years we have seen an attack on yogurt companies that use raw milk. We have seen an attack on family farms and organic farms who cannot keep up with the new food safety regulations that have been passed in the name of “consumer protection.”
NaturalNews can now report that 65-year-old senior citizen James Stewart, a raw milk farmer with no criminal history, was nearly tortured to death in the LA County jail this past week. He survived a “week of torturous Hell” at the hands of LA County jail keepers who subjected him to starvation, sleep deprivation, hypothermia, loss of blood circulation to extremities, verbal intimidation, involuntary medical testing and even subjected him to over 30 hours of raw biological sewage filth containing dangerous pathogens.
This is from a county that has targeted and terrorized James Stewart for the supposed crime of selling fresh milk containing “dangerous pathogens.” That’s right – the only “crime” James has ever committed is being the milk man and distributing milk that is openly and honestly kept fresh and raw instead of pasteurized. So as part of his punishment of advocating raw cow’s milk, he was tortured withraw human sewageat the LA County jail.
The story speaks for itself, and keep it in mind when you see harsh backlash from people who think the FDA is 100% absolutely necessarily a good thing, or that the USDA is the reason our food is safe and that we as individuals ought not be permitted to engage in all kinds of commerce because something might hurt us. Ask folks what they think of the raw milk guy. Ask them what they think of organic farms who cannot pass USDA food inspection. And ask them why some people should be permitted to make choices about risk, safety and enjoyment and the rest of us should not.