Caring for the environment is important, but I’ve never celebrated Earth Day. This is because it is largely a propaganda tool for the left, used to define what caring for the environment means on their terms. It’s worth looking at the history of how Earth Day came to be. The first Earth Day was in 1970, and was purposely tied to the anti-Vietnam student protest movement of the time period, as is openly admitted by this friendly, brief account of Earth Day. According to the cite, “On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.” But who in their right mind would be against a healthy, sustainable environment? No one. That’s not what they were demonstrating for. They were demonstrating for federal action regarding the environment.
Today, Earth Day has transformed into a tool for pushing what I’ll call Climatology, which holds to the following propositions: 1) The average temperature of the Earth is warming significantly, 2) It is caused by mankind, 3) It’s effects will be catastrophic, and 4) signficant government regulation is needed to curb it’s effects. Those who demur at any of (1)-(4) are labeled “climate change deniers”, which eliminates room for the more subtle view of the climate change skeptic. The climate change skeptic, which I would bet makes up the majority of those who do not ascribe to climatology, does not deny climatology, but is skeptical of the truth of at least one of 1-4. I’m one of those people.
I doubt that a truly informed person could justifiably believe (1)-(4). Let’s say, in order to be justified in believing all four propositions at the same time, you must have good reason to be more confident than not in all four. There is some moving evidence in favor of (1) and (2), though skepticism about these two is probably justified, given the politicization of the research, infusing it with an alarming amount of bias. The support for (3) and (4) is weaker still, however. Rarely do proponents of Climatology go into detail about why we should think the effects will be catastrophic. They’ll talk about rising see levels covering coastal cities, or changing weather patterns that render certain agricultural areas barren. However, these changes aren’t going to happen overnight, and some parts of the globe are likely to benefit from an improved climate. If populations have time to adapt and adjust to slowly changing conditions, how exactly will the results be catastrophic? And even if they will be catastrophic, the case for (4) is incredibly weak. (4) assumes that government regulations are effective in curbing the effects of climate change. This is far from certain. So, I just don’t see how a highly informed person could be justifiably more confident in (1)-(4) than not.
In a related post, Bill Valicella expresses some well-put thoughts here.
- Changes Coming - May 18, 2017
- Hypatia: A Bridge Too Far? - May 10, 2017
- Earth Day - April 23, 2017
- Quick Reaction: Was the Syria Strike Morally Permissible?* - April 8, 2017
- A Response to Jenkins and Ichikawa: If You Like Your Mononormativity, You Can Keep Your Mononormativity - March 25, 2017
- Go Ahead, Make My Day—Defund the NEH! - March 20, 2017
- There are No “Safe Spaces” - February 13, 2017
- Make Philosophy Great Again: End Leiter Reports and Daily Nous - January 12, 2017
- A Conservative Virtue - December 17, 2016
- A More Honest Statement from the APA - December 9, 2016