Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Practical environmentalism

I've recently been introduced to a discussion group on practical environmentalism, the idea being that individuals making small changes in large numbers can have a proportionate result over a long enough timeline (and this is my kind of math; real, low-key and hopefully, practical in nature). Jury's still out on my long-term involvement, but so far so good.
        As my friends and some readers know, I had a semi-aborted first career as a biologist. While I enjoyed it, I didn't appreciate being broke and having crushing student loan debt, so I went into my real passion feet first, after, and became a commercial fisherman, which gave me a chance to really put a practical spin on what I spent 6 years preparing for anyhow. Sure, along the way I got sidetracked and ended up doing something almost equally awesome and far more lucrative by cutting out the catching of fish and becoming a Delivery Boy for big oil, but I did and do have side projects that keep my hands in the marine bio gig, and keep me in contact with a range of folks from fishermen and hunters to scientists and university professors. I still eat and enjoy eating formerly-living plants and animals that I've killed myself. I take a perverse pride in driving an overpowered truck. Not saying I'm lockstepped in with the Big Green Machine. Hell, I hate most people who make their living off of trying to prevent others from making theirs.

Having been roughened around the edges had having had to watch the Rule of Unintended Consequences biting the innocent squarely in the ass on a somewhat regular basis, I've got little tolerance for noisemakers, busybodies and the willfully ignorant. I've got a hardon against stupid environmentalism. People who attempt to separate humanity from our ecology and who have no knowledge of economics are as useful as environmentalists as the Westboro Baptist Church is to funeral services. When a supposed environmentalist owns an opinion so tightly held, to the point where it will never face critical scrutiny, that person's voice needs to be muted. Where a person is becoming aware of the need for improvements and practical responses to how we care and interact with our environment, I'd like to think that I'm a strong supporter, and, given my concern for Unintended Consequences, a voice for reason.

 Anyhow, you're going to see some real environmentalism here in the future- human cost accounting, economic return, consequences of past actions... many highly negative, in fact, as environmentalism comes at a steep cost, being a qualitative concern. I hope that more people will come to realize that we CAN choose many easier, sustainable ways of doing things because we can afford to make those choices now. Where choices aren't available, the costs become more critical, and that can add up quickly on any side of any issue. What I truly hope is that folks will see that, in many cases, careful management and balancing of interests with a hands-off approach to management often works better than command-and-control management of environmental issues.  Stay tuned.

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