Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dear Misguided People of the World:

The theory of global warming is a conspiracy. Why, you might ask, would the greatest scientists in the world join up with environmentalists to create such a huge hoax? The reasons are multifaceted:

1) To move our dependence from oil and coal on to more sustainable resources

2) To reduce pollution, and the medical problems that result from it

3) To get humans, as a whole, to understand and respect our relationship to the rest of the environment

Now that you see the horrible, self-interested reasons that the wealthiest, most powerful people in the world (AKA scientists and environmentalists) have for creating the myth of climate change, you understand why it makes sense that it is a conspiracy. Come join caring right-wing politicians and the humble petroleum industry in putting an end to the greatest joke in human history.

Because our only agenda is to keep the truth alive.


Exxon Mobile
Saddam Hussein
George W. Bush

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Note: this generalization does not cover all economists, but still a large majority

The world today has become so detached, so "specialized," that human beings think we can categorize our knowledge into bits and pieces and not see connections between different disciplines. Environmentalists are aware of how much we separate ourselves from the non-human environment. But how can we connect with nature when we can't even connect with each other? We all live in a vacuum. Nothing one person does could possibly affect another human being.

Take economics, for example. Just like psychologists, sociologists, and political scientists, economists believe that there exists within their field empirical facts, scientific evidence, the "real world". But economics is a "soft science"--it has no empirical facts. And it is a social science--it relates directly to the human world, human interactions, and human relationships. People who use PoliSci and economics as their dogma may see otherwise. "Politics is about interactions between states and other things related to the government," and "economics is about goods and services, trade and policy."

But what are governments and states made up of? Human beings. What is the purpose of policy? To influence and affect human beings (usually to improve their livelihood, or at least it's supposed to be). Economics is a human invention; purely psychological. We invented money, trade, the ideas of inflation and Gross Domestic Product. A country's economy will grow or have negative growth partly because of whether or not investors (people or organizations of people) have faith in them.

This is why economists must constantly keep in mind how each theory, perspective, and policy implemented affects people. To call someone a "bleeding-heart liberal" for being concerned not just about how an economy is perceived to grow, but also how people are being affected by that economy, is grossly short-sighted. To say that economists (or people in an economics class) must not talk about people, but only about policy, is a contradiction. What is the purpose of policy? To help or influence a government or governing body. And what is the purpose of influencing a government? To help or influence the people ruled by that government.

Why was Adam Smith concerned about bringing Great Britain out of feudalism, into a system where supposedly anyone could make money? To get rid of slavery and the serfdom, so that people could be free to influence their own lives. Why was Karl Marx concerned about labor conditions? Because of how the people were treated. I could go on and on.

To argue that the purpose of economics is not to affect the people, but to affect the growth of a country, is ridiculously abstract. It turns into the country helping its economy for the country's sake, and then there is no purpose. For, what is the purpose of a country if not for people?

"The Long Run"

Economists claim not to be myopic, but to look into the future when they make their decisions. If privatizing the water supply of the city of Cochabomba, Bolivia, destroyed people's lives and demanded a quarter to a half of their monthly income, well, the point isn't so much how those people were affected "then." The point is, privatization would help Bolivia's economy "in the long run," maybe years from that point (when half the residents of Cochabomba are dead), and economic growth always helps the people didn't you know? It's automatic. The wealth of a country is never just owned by the already wealthy. No, there's a Reaganomic "trickle-down effect" as you can see worked so well in Bolivia before, during the privatization of other industries. Or in the former Soviet Union. Just ask anyone who lives in Serbia or the Czech Republic. They'll tell you, "I'm so financially well-off now; gosh I'm happy. The health care here is much better now and there are less poor people on the streets." While no one likes living in a pseudo-tyrannical dictatorship, the former USSR did sacrifice a lot to become a capitalistic "democracy." The cost-benefit analysis doesn't have as obvious an outcome as one might presume. And the rabid anti-communism is now just reminiscent of the McCarthy Era.

Strangely enough, these "far-sighted" economists have trouble getting other long-term effects of policy into their heads: environmental effects, human well-being. Petroleum is an unsustainable resource; anyone with half a brain will admit that. But ask an economist why it's a good idea to keep our dependence on oil without investing much further into sustainable energy resources? "Well, oil's not gonna run out for a long time." "Oh, we're investing enough into sustainable resources, so that by the time a world oil crisis hits, we'll have enough alternative energy sources to sustain us." The former comment reveals true hypocrisy if that economist believes the "in the long run" theories. And there is no way in hell an economist can say the latter if they've actually checked current trends and economic predictions. But no, they're still not short-sighted or anything.

I'd say these economists have what I like to call "selective myopia." You look into the future only if it serves your own interests. And boy, do economists care about self-interest! After all, there is no such thing as true altruism, is there?

The truth is, while examining policy, you have to keep your head on straight. Don't let it get abstract enough that it's just a bunch of numbers to you, and there is no humanity involved.

If all scientists were like economists, they wouldn't even bother with the "inefficiencies" of animal-testing. They'd go straight to experimenting on humans.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Great Progressive Divide

Listen as the wind blows, from across the great progressive divide....
Sarah McLachlan (with a little tweaking)

It is hard for people and organizations alike to find some common ground; an idea they can work together on--even when those people and organizations have relatively similar perspectives. The "anarchists" scoff at socialists, because the socialists believe in giving the government more economic regulation "control", and the socialists scoff at the "anarchists", because in their view, the "anarchist" model tends to have little to no structure.

But they are both aiming for the same end result, and they have very similar beliefs as to what "social justice" is--social freedom without enforced "morals" (i.e. abortion or gay marriage bans), and a classless system that does not have any unchecked powers or authorities. The end goal of socialism is anarchism! Their means to those ends are just different.

The "Progressive Movement", as I like to call it, is so busy tearing itself apart, arguing over petty differences, that it cannot hold itself together to be strong enough to fight against anything but itself. Conservative Christians from the middle all the way to the far right of the political spectrum come together for the common causes of abolishing abortion, criminalizing gays, making prayer in the classroom mandatory, and forcing creationism into biology classrooms. Meanwhile, we "progressives" spit acid and labels at each other, such as "tree-huggers," "feminazis," and "New-Age hippies", thus not earning our title of "progressive".

Governments that seek more power and the corporations that fund them work together, out of greed, despite petty differences, to gain the highest profits. Why can't we work together, out of altruism, and sort out our petty differences? Is greed really a stronger motivator?

A perfect example of the divide in progressive politics is environmentalism and class.

Once Again: Environmentalism is a Class Issue

The environmentalist movement tends to be composed mainly of middle-class people who do not fully understand the plight and mindset of a blue-collar worker. In fact, there are many environmentalists who are so embarrassed by this, that they do not consider themselves part of the environmentalist movement--instead, they call themselves part of the "environmental justice" movement. This split within the environmental movement is very sad.

When environmentalists demand that people stop logging old-growth tress, but then fail to offer an alternative to the working-class lumberjacks, that is the environmentalist movement. When an organization preserves land in the Amazon rainforest and kicks the native people off that land, that's the environmentalist movement. On the other hand, when environmental lobbyists got together with the steelworkers union to sue the CEO of a steel factory (because of his dessomation of the environment, and because of poor labor conditions), that was the environmental justice movement.

Environmentalists, above everyone else, are supposed to understand how everything and everyone is interconnected to everything and everyone else. Therefore, we cannot dismiss the consequences of "environmental protection" when the consequences fall on human beings, because part of environmental protection is helping those human beings.

Why is Environmentalism a Class Issue?

When you are working two to three full-time jobs to pay for food for your children, the health of the environment is the last thing that's on your mind. Some environmentalists may say that this is selfish behavior, and "can't that working-class person see that we are all connected to the earth, and therefore, environmental health means his/her own health?" The simple, and quite obvious answer, is no. And why should you, when you have been offered no environmentally sustainable alternative to your job as a lumberjack, or buying clothes at Wal-Mart, or buying the cheapest car you can (regardless of how much gas it guzzles)? Can I really expect you to buy organic food and cotton and fair-trade coffe, when I know full well how much that shit costs? Can I expect you to become an activist with me when you barely have time to sleep?

That is another thing that environmentalists, of all people, should understand: the human survival instinct. Regardless of how inefficient or impractical a solution is in the long run, as long as it gets food on your table, you'll take it.

Of course, another problem in this country is that people in general are poorly-educated about various issues and current events, including environmental issues. We've been brainwashed to put our "economy" ahead of the environment, creating a completely false dichotomy. Like everyone else, on top of the above mentioned problems, the lower-classes generally have virtually no education regarding environmental issues.

The other problem is that the lower classes are the first ones affected by our destructive behavior toward the environment. a) Where do nuclear power plants and chemical plants and factories set up shop, where they can dump all their toxic chemicals into the neighbor's lawn? b) Which countries are having the worst environmental records (due to the outsourcing of jobs and environmental regulations)? c) Who wasn't able to escape the worst destruction of hurricane Katrina, and d) why were the hurrican's effects so severe? The answer, in case you didn't figure it out, is a) poor neighborhoods; b) the poorest countries; c) the poor and d) the city was too poor (and so was the infrastructure). Seeing a pattern?

An experiment for vegetarians and organic-product buyers (although I have to figure out the right numbers): Go on a food-and-grocery budget of about $50 (?)/month, and see how long it takes you--not only to stop buying organic food--but to start buying meat. Meat is cheap, and it fills you up. Regardless of your more abstract philosophies, when you're not sure when your next meal is, all your long-term goals and ideals go out the window, and only your short-term goals remain. This is one of the ways that the cycles of social and environmental injustice continue: keep enough of the people desperate enough, and they won't look at, let alone care about, ecological destruction, even if it directly effects them.

However, that is slowly beginning to change. The environmental justice movement sprung out of the early 1990s as an anti-toxics revolution: people from poor areas were fed up with how they were being treated. For more information on environmental justice, please visit the website Environmental Justice Resources on the World Wide Web

Friday, January 13, 2006

For the Love of Common Sense

I wrote this letter in response to an article entitled, Energy: A Potent Political Weapon, written (guess where?) on the Fox News website. You guessed right, didn't you? And you're saying right now, "Why did she bother writing to this man?" Well, my answer will be Ad Hominem: "You're stupid! Leave me alone." See? Now you know why, and you know I'm right.

Dear Mr. Steven Milloy:

Understand that I don't usually write to reporters; in fact, I believe this is my first time. I would like to point out a couple flaws in your article, that stood out to me.

1) In your article, "Energy, A Potent Political Weapon", you said, "Environmentalists are doing everything in their power to ensure that whatever energy is available will be more expensive."
As a very active environmentalist who speaks to other environmentalists on a day-to-day basis, I can assure you this isn't true.

That argument is called an Ad Hominem fallacy:
Person A makes claim X.
Person B makes an attack on person A.
Therefore A's claim is false.

Here is Person A's defense: The purpose of environmentalism is to protect the environment, and make sure that humans aren't negatively affected by the environment. We do not try to undermine attempts to boost our economy, especially when it comes to energy resources, since they are vital to the entire global economy. If we tried to undermine attempts to access energy and succeeded, the global economy would be in ruins.

This is exactly why, instead of undermining attempts to find energy resources, we offer scientifically-proven, very effective energy resources that would provide us with a lot of the energy we usually extract from fossil fuels. I'm sure you've heard of them; they're called alternative energy sources: wind power, solar power, and hydroelectric power are the most popular. As an environmentalist, I would like to show people that we have the opportunity to invest in some extremely reliable, economically, and environmentally sustainable energy sources. This would help us move from our dependency on petroleum, which is "unsustainable". This means that, regardless of when (certainly within the next century), we will hit a peak in oil extraction efficiency, and prices will rise exponentially from then on. Alternative energy sources don't have this problem. Therefore, if we were dependent on them, we would not have to worry about a sudden economic depression when oil extraction becomes next to impossible. This is not to say, "stop extracting oil now!" This is a gradual concept, to wean us off our dependency on an economically unsustainable resource. Therefore, we wouldn't have to pay higher prices for natural gas, as you said in your article, because there would be other energy sources available. (Yes, that was long-winded, I know.)

2) When you speak of the ANWR oil and gas drilling, you have to be willing to do a cost-benefit analysis. The economically recoverable oil in ANWR is about 152 days of supply. That's less than half a year's supply of oil. Drilling in that part of the Refuge would disrupt the balance of a very fragile ecosystem. Before you come to any conclusions, I suggest you learn exactly what an ecosystem is and how interconnected it is with each species it houses. Drilling will likely put the caribou species on the endangered species list. You may not share the same sentiments as I about deer. That's fine. How about people? The two large herds of caribou in ANWR are major food sources for the Gwich'in Indians in that area. They have lived off the caribou for the past 12,000 years, and are strongly opposed to drilling. To learn about more reasons that drilling in ANWR is a terrible idea, contact Senate Republicans, Lincoln Chafee (RI) and Mike DeWine (OH), and ask them why they voted against the drilling.

3) I will not go into the large amounts of evidence that global warming not only exists, but is exacerbated by humans. But I do suggest that, before you read more about how climate change is "junk science", you read this one pdf article, or you can go to the website and get it there.

Thank you very much for reading through this long email. I hope you at least found it interesting.


Sitakali (I actually used my real name here)