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Liriodendron Tulipifera

Definitions Of Environmentalism

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In response to Inspector's statements in my introduction thread, I thought it might be interesting to examine the definitions of environmentalism, as I'm fairly certain that we all come to this forum with slightly different definitions.

Googling this term for popular definitions, I found the following:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=defin...nvironmentalism

Furthermore, the online dictionary offered sub-definitions of environmentalism, such as free market environmentalism (interesting that I had never heard of this term, but would probably consider myself to be part of this category!), radical environmentalism, radical values environmentalism, and militant environmentalism (PETA, Sierra Club types). Free market environmentalism is the idea that the free market provides the best solution to environmental problems.

The general definition offered by Google is that environmentalism means the preservation of the environment from destruction, presumably destruction by man, the purpose of such preservation conveniently avoided in the definition. So, this could mean the preservation of the environment for man's benefit (aesthetically or for ecosystem function, upon which our lives currently depend at this point in human history) or for its own sake, since there are many who posit that nature has "intrinsic value."

Without getting into the fact that intrinsic value is a false concept, I'd like to ask for everyone's opinion on what environmentalism actually means TO YOU. What do you think of when you first think of the word? I can see the point that words ending in -ism generally imply an ideological viewpoint, i.e. religionist, evolutionist, etc. But what is this ideology, exactly? And what term would be best to describe those who wish to preserve the environment for man's sake - aesthetic, economic, or otherwise...

I've recently been discussing this issue with my Botany students (mostly freshmen) and discovering that many of them come from diverse backgrounds and have varied opinions on this subject. In short, they have not been able to come up with a very good definition of environmentalism, either.

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Without getting into the fact that intrinsic value is a false concept, I'd like to ask for everyone's opinion on what environmentalism actually means TO YOU. What do you think of when you first think of the word? I can see the point that words ending in -ism generally imply an ideological viewpoint, i.e. religionist, evolutionist, etc. But what is this ideology, exactly?

Good question.

Environmentalism is an ideological movement born out of postmodernism. It's essentially anti-man and anti-capitalist, not pro-environment. That is, the thrust and purpose of the movement is to pull man down. You'll find this is true of multiculturialism and feminism as well. The difference is that environmentalism seems to have a much bigger following.

Environmentalism sees man as an unwelcome intruder into nature. This is captured in the ofted used phrase "pristine environment", as if that is above man. The motivation could well be hatred of the good for being the good, thus the desire to pull man down.

I see the endless fear scenarios over the environment as the bait used to pull innocent people in. People gain negative views of mankind and capitalism, when they are told we are destroying things by our activities. They are thus impelled to action.

I would add that this doesn't mean that there aren't very real problems that arise in the environment. It's just that, such problems don't require an ideological movement.

How about yourself? How do you view the movement?

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I'll start,

As an "ISM," I believe that "environmentalism" must necessarily be an ideology of some sort.

Personally, I would define it broadly as the intrincisist doctrine that nature has value apart from and above man. While ultimately an utterly nihilist doctrine, there are varying levels to which an individual can absorb and integrate environmentalism into his psyche.

This worship of "nature" necessarily indicates nature untouched by man. It has no concern for HOW man changes nature or what effects these changes have... being intrincisist, ANY changes are seen as evil. Witness the popular environmentalist attacks on electric dams and windmills, which are supposedly "clean" energy sources.

No amount of natural "preservation" or "conservation" will ultimately satisfy an environmentalist; his goal is the COMPLETE cessation of all influence of mankind on the natural world. This must necessarily mean that the ultimate goal of an environmentalist is to see mankind completely wiped out.

There are members of PETA and such that openly advocate this goal.

The environmental movement hijacked science a few decades ago to push its agenda. There have been a number of exposures lately by Bjorn Lomberg, Michael Crichton, and others that the epistemological methods of environmentalist "scientists" is to put their agenda before fact and truth. Like many 20th century nihilist doctrines (such as marxism, nazism, etc), environmentalists use propaganda and lies whenever possible to influence public opinion. This includes statistical manipulation, outright lies, and any other method. (one example is to create petitions which are signed by so many thousand "scientists," where "scientist" can mean anyone with an advanced degree: dentists, philosophy professors, etc.)

This is most certainly a movement whose goal is political; they want to impose their ideology by force onto others. One large example of this is the Kyoto protocol, which luckily failed. Plenty of other examples include the EPA and its plethora of regulations.

Environmentalism also encompasses groups who seek political change outside of the legal process. Terrorist groups such as ALF, ELF, and Earth First! are considered environmentalists. Pseudo-terrorists such as Greenpeace (who do use violence!) are also included. Environmentalists also use the terrorist technique of deriving funding from "mainstream" organizations. Several of the violent groups get their money funneled to them by "mainstream" groups and folks who have no idea that they are funding violent hooligans. (as opposed to hooligans who act WITHIN the legal system)

As such, I have the following EMPHATIC advise for all Objectivists:

Do not trust anything stated as a "fact" by an environmentalist. Do not trust any paper or petition written by an environmentalist or in support of environmental regulation.

If you are a fan of nature hikes, or an appreciator of natural beauty, do NOT call yourself and environmentalist, associate with environmentalist groups, or join any environmentalist faction. They WILL use your sanction to support terrorism or, at the very least, anti-capitalistic political movements. (that "sanction" could be monetary, or simply the use of your name on a petition or as proof of a population of members to influence the welfare state)

Do not excuse, sanction, support, or endorse these people in ANY WAY.

Another environmentalist tactic is to push their propaganda on children. Many campaigns by PETA, for example, are specifically targeted at school children. I recall an ad campaign a while back that sent the message to children that milk was poison. (not just to the lactose intolerant, I mean)

Do not let your children be taken in by the underhanded tactics, lies, and propaganda of the environmentalist movement. Please, PLEASE educate your children not to trust ANYONE who speaks out in favor of "nature," "naturalism," or "the environment."

[edited for spelling]

Edited by Inspector

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OK, these are all helpful posts in the sense that I can see where Objectivists or students of Objectivism are coming from. And I think I can also safely say that on my campus, at least, the view that man is unnatural and not a part of nature is not predominant, except among younger, less educated students. I don't doubt that there are plenty of educated scientists that hold these extreme anti-man views. In fact, the Gaia "hypothesis" was developed by a very prominent scientist who sometimes visits this campus, Lynn Margulis. However, I think most people in the scientific community have their heads on straight. I tend to have confidence in people if they have not shown a specific tendency toward anti-man behavior or beliefs. Basically, I believe people are generally good, and can be given the benefit of the doubt.

My dilemma is this: while there are a minority of individuals in society (I don't know what percentage, but I believe they are a minority) that actively pursue anti-man goals, and call themselves environmentalists, there are a majority of others (scientists, laypersons, students) that want environmental problems solved but see that the reason for doing so is benefit to man (aesthetic value, economic value [biotechnology], or ecosystem function), and that these people also group themselves under the umbrella of environmentalism.

For instance, let me give you some example of the type of attitude I encounter daily. We have a department of Forestry on campus, and one faculty member has a bumper sticker on his car that says "For a Forester, Every Day is Earth Day." So what am I to conclude from this? Foresters, by definition, are professionals that manage forests, that believe that forests should be used for human ends: recreation, appreciation of wildlife or nature in general, and harvesting of timber for profit. I guess what I'm getting at is that there are a large group of people out there that are not anti-man, and while they may be misguided in some ways, usually by thinking more government controls are the answer to "environmental problems", a nebulous concept at best, they really don't have evil motives. They are rather like the people that call themselves Christians who really don't believe half the crap in the Bible!! This is why the term "religionist" is more appropriate for the hard-core religious people, while Christian is more appropriate for the rest that are not hardcore believers. So while I can accept the term "environmentalist" as evil, at least in Objectivist circles, I cannot accept it as evil when used by others who don't define it in this way, precisely because in popular use in society, there really does appear to be a lack of a better term!

My concern is exactly the type of attitude that Inspector seems to hold: that anyone, without examination of his or her beliefs or motives, who speaks out in favor of "nature" or "the environment" is evil. Inspector, can you clarify as to what you mean by this? And is this indeed what you meant? That we must automatically be suspect of these people as much as we must automatically be suspect of someone who calls themselves a Christian? This seems very silly to me. Other things have to be taken into context. For instance, does the person have dred locks, a drugged, depressed, or miserable look, and is dressed in grunge? Or is this person clean-cut, bright eyed, with a positive outlook on life? Of course, we know that evaluating people in this way is not always so clear-cut. However, I think my point is obvious.

Furthermore, nobody here has really offered any solution to Objectivist-leaning or rational, pro-man individual (such as me) as to how to define themselves if they appreciate nature. All I've heard is a lot of lectures about not calling myself an environmentalist. The only alternative seem to break down the definition of environmentalism into sub-categories, which I commonly see on campus. Here, most people generally use the term environmentalist to describe themselves, while reserving the term "militant environmentalist" for those people who hold what you guys have described as "environmentalist" views.

I can assure you that ALL of you appreciate nature in some sense, since plants produced all the oxygen you breathe and are the ultimate source of all of your food. To think that appreciation makes us evil or suspect is, as Felipe said in another thread, pretty mindless.

Also, I think we have to make a distinction between joining radical militant environmentalist groups (ELF, PETA, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc.) from other groups like the Adirondack Mountain Club or the New York Mycological Society.... Clearly we can all see the difference (I hope!) between organizations that advocate and practice terrorism vs. groups that wants to get out and hike or collect mushrooms, or raise money for such interests!

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I guess what I'm getting at is that there are a large group of people out there that are not anti-man, and while they may be misguided in some ways, usually by thinking more government controls are the answer to "environmental problems", a nebulous concept at best, they really don't have evil motives.

Stalin had a term for western leftists who supported the ideas of communism: "Useful Idiots." That is the category that the people you speak of fit into: well meaning people that have been misguided by lies into unknowingly supporting a horribly evil movement.

My concern is exactly the type of attitude that Inspector seems to hold: that anyone, without examination of his or her beliefs or motives, who speaks out in favor of "nature" or "the environment" is evil. Inspector, can you clarify as to what you mean by this?
Certainly. I don't mean to say that you should categorize such a person as "evil," but rather to, as I said, not trust what they say. Of course, an examination of their beliefs and motives would be required to judge them personally, but qua environmentalist they are either a liar or an unwitting vector for the spread of lies. Even if you judge them to be a basically good person, when they speak qua environment... DON'T YOU BELIEVE THEM.

That we must automatically be suspect of these people as much as we must automatically be suspect of someone who calls themselves a Christian?

In a sense, yes. To the extent that they have allowed the ideology to infiltrate their consciousness, they will be a font of harmful ideas. Even if they have no belief in or idea about what they are saying, they will at least be a mouthpiece for an evil ideology. I don't think it's at all an unreasonable attitude to automatically suspect a person who calls themselves an environmentalist.

Furthermore, nobody here has really offered any solution to Objectivist-leaning or rational, pro-man individual (such as me) as to how to define themselves if they appreciate nature.
That's going to require more information: what is it you appreciate about nature, other than the fact that man currently depends on the photosynthetic cycle for his survival? The answer to that will help to find out what you should describe yourself as. Some terms that might apply are "Outdoorsman" (Outdoorswoman?) or "Biology professor" :dough:

Also, I think we have to make a distinction between joining radical militant environmentalist groups (ELF, PETA, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc.) from other groups like the Adirondack Mountain Club or the New York Mycological Society.... Clearly we can all see the difference (I hope!) between organizations that advocate and practice terrorism vs. groups that wants to get out and hike or collect mushrooms, or raise money for such interests!

As I have said, unless you know for a FACT that the group you are joining does not send ANY money or ideological support to ANY other group, then you are in danger of your money and support reaching terrorist groups.

A small example of this can be seen on http://www.activistcash.com/

Lots of seemingly innocent groups send their dollars, ultimately, to ALF, PETA, and company. Did you know that the Sierra Club was one such group?

Edited by Inspector

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Did you know that the Sierra Club was one such group?

Um... well... since I grouped them with the terrorists in my last post in this thread... yes. I'ev actually never considered the Sierra Club to be an "innocent group" and believe I'd mentioned them once before in another thread.

See also my webpage, monicabeth.squarespace.com Scroll to the appropriate post at the very bottom, written in May, for what I think about these organizations.

"What is it you appreciate about nature, other than the fact that man currently depends on the photosynthetic cycle for his survival?"

For every reason I've described, which are ALL of the reasons I can think of for why man would want to and should want to appreciate nature: biotechnology (at least, organisms are the basis for biotechnological and genetic improvements, and many, many medicines we have), photosynthesis (which is simply part of a much larger nutrient cycle), and for aesthetic reasons, the last being the least important. For instance, I could care less about extinction of some random bird of prey at the top of the food chain just because it's cute and/or fuzzy and/or majestic looking, and/or more closely related to humans than a mushroom. I'm much more concerned about the loss of microorganisms, which are much more useful to biotech industry AND in the environment for ecosystem function and nutrient cycling.

For example, I could care less about the elimination of any human disease organism, UNLESS the maintenance of stocks could potentially lead to some future benefit for mankind. Personally, I think the last remaining stocks of smallpox should be destroyed. The cost of them getting into the wrong hands far outweighs any benefit they might have, biotechnologically speaking, in the future. However, (Disclaimer!) this is not my area of expertise and I really don't know that much about why these stocks are being maintained.

Edited by Liriodendron Tulipifera

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Here's a quick shot at the question posed in the first post:

Rational Environmentalism: Reshaping the environment to conform to man's values, and maintaining ecological systems that promote man's wellbeing.

Edited by FeatherFall

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Here's a quick shot at the question posed in the first post:

Rational Environmentalism: Reshaping the environment to conform to man's values, and maintaining ecological systems that promote man's wellbeing.

That's like saying "rational socialist."

Instead, I'd think up a whole new term. Hell, you could be a real trailblazer in this regard. Biotechnologist?

Biotechnologism?

Ecosploitationist?

An advocate of the preservation and exploitation of the biosphere as benefits mankind.

Hmmm, I really like that definition!

Anyway, the point is you want something that describes your intent while leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that you are NOT affiliated with or supporting any of the nutballs out there which are called "environmentalists."

Take, for example, that Ayn Rand rejected the idea of calling her philosophy "Existentialism," even though that would have been properly descriptive, because it was already the name of a rather poisonous modern philosophy.

Edited by Inspector

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My dilemma is this: while there are a minority of individuals in society (I don't know what percentage, but I believe they are a minority) that actively pursue anti-man goals, and call themselves environmentalists, there are a majority of others (scientists, laypersons, students) that want environmental problems solved but see that the reason for doing so is benefit to man (aesthetic value, economic value [biotechnology], or ecosystem function), and that these people also group themselves under the umbrella of environmentalism.

The environmental movement exists because of those pushing the anti-man, anti-capitalist agenda. There have always been lovers of nature, but there has not always been an environmental movement. This really only arose in the late 1960s, I believe. You have to be careful not to conflate lovers of nature with environmentalists. Being a lover of nature is basically a good thing.

Ayn Rand was the one who nailed the environmental movement as the new home of the left, or the "New Left", way back in the early seventies, late sixties. Communism was losing out, so this was the replacement. I have an interview of hers from the 1970s, with Edwin Newman, in which she says that "Environmentalists use the prestige of science to scare people." They aren't using *science* mind you, but its prestige. They pretend they're being scientific.

There is a website, www.debunkers.org. It has a forum which many scientists and engineers frequent. Toxicologists, biologists, physicsts, etc. Much of what they do is criticize the latest fear scenarios.

I agree with much of what the Inspector says, except that I would say be a first hander about checking the facts of what environmentalists say. Make sure that you confirm in your own mind the truth or falsity of their claims to get a sense of where environmentalists are coming from.

Edited by Thales

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That's like saying "rational socialist."

Instead, I'd think up a whole new term. Hell, you could be a real trailblazer in this regard. Biotechnologist?

Ecosploitationist?

An advocate of the preservation and exploitation of the biosphere as benefits mankind.

Hmmm, I really like that definition!

heh, that's funny. Actually, there are lots of biotechnologists! We actually have a biotechnology major here. "ecosploitationist" hah.

I guess I'll just call myself an ecologist, biologist, or mycologist, for the time being :lol:

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I agree with much of what the Inspector says, except that I would say be a first hander about checking the facts of what environmentalists say. Make sure that you confirm in your own mind the truth or falsity of their claims to get a sense of where environmentalists are coming from.

To maybe clarify what I have said on this, I also advocate being a first-hander. The general policy is to never trust what an environmentalist tells you qua environment and to treat any claim from an environmentalist as arbitrary, (like you would treat a claim that leprechauns existed) until you have definitive first-hand proof otherwise. And a "paper" from another environmentalist is not to be taken as such a proof. :lol:

As for the roots of the movement, I'd say that it has certain roots in "Blud und Boden" Socialism of the late 19th century ("Blood and Soil"), or perhaps Henry David Thoreau (of the same era).

Theoretically, it can be traced as far as the Druids, at least in some aspects.

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And a "paper" from another environmentalist is not to be taken as such a proof. :lol:

As for the roots of the movement, I'd say that it has certain roots in .... perhaps Henry David Thoreau (of the same era).

Theoretically, it can be traced as far as the Druids, at least in some aspects.

Yeah, I agree. Transcendentalism, all that crap...

Anyway, on the oil paper. To be honest, I'd seen a poster with the same data, not the paper. And just hte graphs, not the methodology. It was a mistake to throw something out that I hadn't read, so I apologize for that. But Charlie is a pretty controversial person for debunking a few nonsense theories in ecology, so I generally trust him. Anyway, I just wanted to throw something out there from a scientific journal rather than the random junk often thrown around on this forum, like random websites.... on a variety of issues. So, while I knew basically what the paper would say (that oil production will eventually peak) I didn't know what the mechanism was for arriving at those conclusions. Anyway, the authors were extremely modest in their conclusions, admitting that previous estimates have been wrong as well and that these may well be, too.

In any case, it's not like anyone else here has actually provided any scientific data on that issue! Everything here is random speculation. I don't know whether some technology is available or not that can detect differences in density in the Earth's crust, it seems like this should be a simple enough problem to solve and calculate, assuming a certain rate of efficiency increase each year for oil production, combined with data for high and low economic growth rates.

Anyway, I think we'll have shifted to other technologies long before oil ever "runs out." Oil sucks! I'm tired of these prices in gasoline and natural gas! I don't really care what the reason for these prices is. My next car will be either a hybrid or a diesel than can burn McDonald's french fry fat or some other biodiesel fuel. I think I made a serious mistake buying the car that I did two years ago. I decided it would only be financially advantageous to get a hybrid if gas got above $1.50 per gallon. WELL!!!!!

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To maybe clarify what I have said on this, I also advocate being a first-hander. The general policy is to never trust what an environmentalist tells you qua environment and to treat any claim from an environmentalist as arbitrary, (like you would treat a claim that leprechauns existed) until you have definitive first-hand proof otherwise. And a "paper" from another environmentalist is not to be taken as such a proof. :lol:

Right you are. Don't give them the benefit of the doubt. I couldn't agree more!

What's the old saying? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." B)

As for the roots of the movement, I'd say that it has certain roots in "Blud und Boden" Socialism of the late 19th century ("Blood and Soil"), or perhaps Henry David Thoreau (of the same era).

You could be right, but the current incantation is more directly an offshoot of postmodernism.

Edited by Thales

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[...] that want environmental problems solved but see that the reason for doing so is benefit to man (aesthetic value, economic value [biotechnology], or ecosystem function)

I think this is the source of confusion.

Once you include man in the environment there are no problems, there is only progress. Industrialization IS a benefit to man.

Given that all knowledge is hierarchical and that technological advances had to be built upon an initial technology; we HAD to go through a stage of less efficient, polluting technology (there is no way to go directly from sticks and stones to computers) -- and yet man has benefitted.

Inspector is right, you must completely abandon the word environmentalism since there are not problems to solve but progress to make. Any good modifier applied to the concept environmentalism results in a contradiction.

And of course it goes without saying that the best way to achieve progress is via private propery rights and Laissez-faire capitalism. Once the principles of Objectivism are implemented the philosophy will not only be seen as the greatest source of progress the world has ever seen, but Objectivists will be correctly identified as the greatest nature lovers of all.

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Anyway, I think we'll have shifted to other technologies long before oil ever "runs out." Oil sucks! I'm tired of these prices in gasoline and natural gas! I don't really care what the reason for these prices is. My next car will be either a hybrid or a diesel than can burn McDonald's french fry fat or some other biodiesel fuel. I think I made a serious mistake buying the car that I did two years ago. I decided it would only be financially advantageous to get a hybrid if gas got above $1.50 per gallon. WELL!!!!!

That's cute, but...

I'm going for a a Bugatti Veyron. 16 cylinder, 1000 hp, reaches speeds of 250 mph, and can burn 1.33 gallons of petro in a minute.

bugatti_veyron_officieel.jpg

A beauty. :lol:

The only draw back, despite its Italian name, is that it's French. Okay, it costs a pretty penny too.

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That's cute, but...

I'm going for a a Bugatti Veyron. 16 cylinder, 1000 hp, reaches speeds of 250 mph, and can burn 1.33 gallons of petro in a minute.

bugatti_veyron_officieel.jpg

A beauty. B)

The only draw back, despite its Italian name, is that it's French. Okay, it costs a pretty penny too.

Well, I'd go for it, too, if I could afford it. Or rather, if I was interested much in speedy cars. IYou guys - I'd prefer to spend my cash on other things.

Anyway, full speed ahead! :lol:

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I decided it would only be financially advantageous to get a hybrid if gas got above $1.50 per gallon. WELL!!!!!

Don't be so sure: http://www.autoweek.com/article.cms?articleId=103430

"At $3,290 more than a gasoline-only V6 Accord, it will take a very long time to recoup the hybrid’s price premium at the pump—and that’s not factoring in the cost of battery replacement"

And that, presumably, is WITH the (several thousand dollar) government subsidy! It's also ~$12,000 more than the four-cylinder model. You'd have to drive QUITE a few miles to make up the cost on that one, and by the time you do that, you can look at several thousand dollars in battery replacement costs.

The smaller hybrids (Prius, etc) are no better. They command LARGE price premiums over the regular models and don't offer THAT much better gas mileage. If you want to save money on a car and gas, buy a 1-2 year old Focus/Mazda/Civic/Corolla/whatever. (to avoid the big depreciation "hit" from buying a new car)

Trust me as a man knowledgeable in cars: hybrids are NOT a mature technology. If you want it as an expensive toy, or your city lets you drive in the carpool lane or something, fine, but don't expect to save money.

This is just one more bit of "green" bogusness. B)

Anyway, on the oil paper.

To be honest, I wasn't referring to that specifically, I was just giving general advice to disbelieve any study done by environmentalists. :lol:

Edited by Inspector

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The smaller hybrids (Prius, etc) are no better. They command LARGE price premiums over the regular models and don't offer THAT much better gas mileage. If you want to save money on a car and gas, buy a 1-2 year old Focus/Mazda/Civic/Corolla/whatever. (to avoid the big depreciation "hit" from buying a new car)

Trust me as a man knowledgeable in cars: hybrids are NOT a mature technology. If you want it as an expensive toy, or your city lets you drive in the carpool lane or something, fine, but don't expect to save money.

Thanks for the constant fatherly advice. B) But I actually had this all calculated out for myself.

:lol: I am aware that hybrids are not a mature technology but I would saved considerably over the life of the car with gas as it now is, calculating at $2.50 per gallon, which is dirt cheap now in my area... about $2000 I would have saved at 200,000 total miles, even adjusting for the price difference in the car! I already have 75,000 miles on my car and it's only 2 years old. I drive a lot. By the time I'm done with payments, my car might be ready for the junk heap, even though this is a Toyota with a good engine. And my new one won't be a traditional vehicle if gas stays like this!

Fords suck, I'd never buy one. The consumer ratings are awful. As for another used car, it wasn't worth it with the interest rates at the time. I got 0% financing on this one. :) It's a Pontiac Vibe, which as you know, has everything that Toyota has except for exterior styling, about the only thing Pontiac has going for it!

God, this has gotten off topic. LOL.

Edited by Liriodendron Tulipifera

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One way to go about the definition you're seeking is ask what its referents are. For instance, there is a certain sense in which you consider yourself an "environmentalist". How? You've spoken about how your views are different from the typical radical environmentalist. That does not get to the heart of why we need the term. More important is: how are you views and actions -- in this regard -- different from "non-environmentalists".

Suppose, we were to group people into three categories (for the sake of this thread): rational environmentalists, other environmentalists, non-environmentalist. Would (say) the drillers in ANWR be "rational environmentalists" or "non environmentalists"? If they could be "rational environmentalists", then what are some examples of "non environmentalists"? Once you have examples of "non-environmentalists", that should help to figure out what exactly is the differentia you seek.

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I think a definition of "environment" is in order. Here is a start, "The totality of external physical conditions surrounding man."

If one thinks of the environment that way, then our transformations of it are overwhelmingly positive. For example, clearing a forested, mountainous habitat to create strip mines that will provide metal for automobiles and electronics benefits our environment greatly. Human conditions have correspondingly been made more positive due to those actions.

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Suppose, we were to group people into three categories (for the sake of this thread): rational environmentalists, other environmentalists, non-environmentalist. Would (say) the drillers in ANWR be "rational environmentalists" or "non environmentalists"? If they could be "rational environmentalists", then what are some examples of "non environmentalists"? Once you have examples of "non-environmentalists", that should help to figure out what exactly is the differentia you seek.

These are great questions.

I wouldn’t group “drillers in ANWR” into any specific category. Such a categorization should not be done on groups, and must be based on an individual’s worldview.

So let me answer your question as to what I would consider a “non-environmentalist.” After some serious thought, I have arrived at the following working description. A non-environmentalist shares key characteristics with the environmentalist or the religionist: a denial of certain parts of science because of a conflict with his or her worldview. In describing the following groups, I will not necessarily be inclusive of all beliefs in the worldview, but I will be descriptive enough so that you can understand what I mean, hopefully.

Environmentalists pick and choose particular aspects of science to accept. For them, the “environment” is more than the sum of its parts: a superorganism that has some sort of spirit, a device which should not and must not be understood, only felt. And this “faith in Gaia” is placed above all facts. Only those facts which do not threaten this faith are accepted.

For religionists, those aspects of science having to do with evolution are rejected, because they perceive that if man has evolved from animals, this violates their faith that man was created “in God’s image.” Likewise, this “faith in God” is placed above all facts. Only those facts which do not threaten this belief are accepted. It is important to recognize that religionists and environmentalists do not necessarily reject ALL science; only those aspects threatening to their worldview. To do so would be to reject the advances that make a modern life possible.

Likewise, a non-environmentalist must deny aspects of science that result in any finding opposed to their worldview, which is that all aspects of human industrial activity are good and result only in positive effects for humans. This would necessitate the denial of any research which finds specific environmental problems that are caused by human activities. This could mean, specifically, findings related to the effects of specific industrial activities on human health, private property, or ecosystem function. Only those facts that do not threaten this faith in mankind are accepted.

All three types of individuals necessarily reject any findings which contradict their own ideology.

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