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People come first

Last meetup showed how good green spin doctors are becoming. An audience member (I'm not sure who because the lights were so bright I couldn't see their face) reckoned the Greens support economic growth.

That sounds completely at odds with everything I have been hearing and reading. Green opposition to per-capita growth is embedded in their "contraction and convergence" mantra. They think everyone must get poor because poor people don't make as much pollution as rich people.

Nobody would vote for a politician who tells voters they have to get poor. But until recently that's exactly what some Green politicians were doing. One of their co-leaders was regularly heard yelling "we must stop economic growth." It's pretty-much impossible to be any more explicit than that.

And then, in the lead-up to September 2014, all the Greenies suddenly started saying they support economic growth. What happened?

A spin doctor is what happened. When they say they support economic growth, they are talking about negative economic growth.

So what?

Here's what: Beneath the pretty bangles and polite rhetoric, green policy is anti-human. They talk about "ecological sustainability", without telling us that many in the green movement sincerely believe the earth will be better off without people. That is one important reason their policies are designed to worsen environmental problems. For example, the Green Party's policy on climate change talks about aiming for equal per-capita greenhouse emissions, completely ignoring the scientific fact that man-made warming can be stabilised only by eliminating fossil carbon emissions. OK, the zero-fossil-carbon target is "equal per capita". But that's not how the general reader interprets it. The Greens want us to think man-made climate change will go away if each person only uses a little bit of fossil fuel. Like say, equivalent to the per-capita fossil fuel consumption of Mexico. That is factually incorrect.

The fact is, greenies are anti-technology. That's why so many Wellington greenies raved about John Bellamy Foster's 2010 book, The Ecological Rift.

Foster says technology is inextricably linked with capitalism.

Almost. But not quite.

The word "capitalism" is a misnomer. Economic historians have shown that our economic system should properly be called "market-led technology." Karl Marx and his cobbers called it "capitalism" because they thought capital accumulation was the system's foundation. They were wrong. Capital accumulation without innovation is hoarding. The foundation of our system is technological innovation.

Semantics aside, writers like Foster say that technological development inevitably wrecks the earth's ecology. They say that technical solutions cannot solve environmental problems. Don't believe me? Read the book

Ian Tattersall writes in the September issue of Scientific American that inventing a stone tool and teaching others how to make it requires abilities that are uniquely human. The fossil record suggests hominins have been doing that for about 2.5 million years. Scientists have tried to teach apes how to do this. They have failed. Technology is what makes us different from the animals.

Technology hating is people-hating. Aeroplane hating is people-hating. Car hating is people-hating. Ever met a greenie that was not at least somewhat ambivalent about cars? Most greenies I've met hate cars almost as passionately as Jeremy Clarkson loves them (Cars, not greenies).

Green ideology is not about improving our environment. I'm sure that many rank and file greenies have been taken in by the spin, just like the guy at our September meetup. The ringleaders certainly know what is going on. It's right there in black and white in the Green Party Charter: "ecological sustainability is paramount". In plain English, "the environment" is more important than human civilisation.

Most of their supporters won't realise that the Greens are working toward humanity's extinction. They fear technological progress because they know technology can overcome environmental problems and perceived material constraints. Take air quality in developed countries, for example. It's getting better because of improved engine and exhaust treatment technology on modern cars and trucks. Or think about solar electricity and solar crude oil, which harness a resource so vast that human civilisation should NEVER be constraint by the availability of energy. As a bonus, these technologies don't cause global warming.

My research clearly shows how and why on-going technical progress and economic growth leads to energy abundance. Other people are finding solutions to other issues that the greenies say will hobble human society. Green ringleaders want to stop this progress. They hope that stopping technological progress will trigger a global economic collapse. Combined with unbridled global warming, they think they'll bring about humanity's extinction.

There is a better way. Science writer Annalee Newitz writes in her book "Scatter, Adapt, and Remember", that humanity should aim to survive and thrive over the next million years.

You can wrap a simple, unambiguous set of environmental and economic policies around Newitz's genius idea.

It means humanity must scatter across the solar system, colonising wherever it can. That's our best option right now for dealing with extinction risks such as a supervolcano eruption or a major asteroid impact. We think we know where ninety percent of the potential civilisation-killing asteroids are. It's the ones we don't know about that could permanently destroy our civilisation. On a timescale of millions of years these risks become significant.

Newitz's human endurance milestone demands per-capita economic growth. Quite simply, there is no other way to achieve her milestone. This highlights the inherent bankruptcy of green ideology. Economic contraction will make space technology progressively less affordable. At some point, resource depletion will quite likely hobble the economy, and people will not be able to afford asteroid mining.

Newitz's milestone demands environmental improvements such as global population stability, eliminating fossil carbon emissions, reducing or (where justified) eliminating pollution, increasing the number of fish in the sea, and so on. The important point, however, is that the million-year milestone puts humanity front and centre. The greenies want to protect "the" environment. But what's the point? if they get rid of the people?

Most political parties in New Zealand support per-capita economic growth. Generally they differ on details such as whether or not our income should be taxed and how much free health and education is enough. The greens are different. I am quite certain that Influential individuals in their inner circle have wet-dreams about dancing on the grave of human civilisation.

When I lecture on renewable crude oil at Victoria University, there is usually someone in the class who worries out loud that they "have no future." That can only come true if we hand power to the greenies. Green ideology puts "the environment" before people.

I have known for years that the world needs a totally new approach to conservation. We must acknowledge that the primary purpose of conservation is to look after our own habitat. Conservation protects "nature" for the people. Annalee Newitz has given the world an excellent way to frame this new environmentalism.

If we focus on increasing per-capita wealth and technological progress, the future for our young people will be more exciting than anyone could ever imagine.

 

Kevin Cudby is a Wellington-based Freelance Writer and Parametric Modelling Consultant who loves writing about cool new technology. Email him to discuss your requirements: hello {a} kevincudby.com

Green ideology cannot improve our environment

 
 
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