Monday, April 22, 2013

An Earth Day reflection

So it's Earth Day.

Excuse me, but I'm nonobservant.

Oh, I did once. In fact, I was there at the beginning. I remember celebrating the very first Earth Day as an eighth grader at Greenfield Middle School. I can even remember the old Ecology flags. Indeed, I can remember the term"ecology."

But I lost the faith. Reality can do that to you. The past 43 years of the environmental movement have been marked by too many shoes that did not drop and too many scares that took on the aura of hysteria upon sober reflection. Global freezing became global warming. Global warming became climate change. The Population Bomb turned out to be a dud. The fossil fuels that were supposed to be gone by now are not.

This is not to say that reasonable environmental safeguards aren't necessary. It's just that I tend to believe that the environmental impacts of public policies ought to be based on a rational assessment of costs and benefits without a metaphysical overlay.

If I did, I might wish to offer up to Gaia Don Bodreaux's heartfelt gratitude for the way in which capitalism has made our world cleaner, healthier and safer.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.


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