Wired calls for Death of Environmentalism

But today, one ecological problem outweighs all others: global warming. Restoring the Everglades, protecting the Headwaters redwoods, or saving the Illinois mud turtle won’t matter if climate change plunges the planet into chaos. It’s high time for greens to unite around the urgent need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Among the deliberately provocative ideas from the current issue of Wired; live in cities, not suburbs, accept genetic engineering, go nuclear, farm old growth forests, carbon trading doesn’t work – and more.

Do I agree with everything they say? No. But this is a welcome blast at an oft-doddering environmental movement that refuses to use technology and is agrarian at core. Living without electricity is not the solution. Providing clean, renewable energy and transportation to the planet is.

The Breakthrough Institute echoes the sentiment and indeed, is a fellow traveler.

The argument of Break Through is that climate change is creating new fault lines in the society and in politics, ones that no longer fall along the “environmentalist/ anti-environmentalist” dichotomy. Wired — whose whole special issue is motivated by the threat of climate change the failure of greens to deal with it — arrives at a similar place.

The solution is not to go backwards. The solution is not to tell India and China their population should not have cars and electricity (like they’d listen anyway to pious preaching from an energy-wasting First World.) Instead, the solution is to use the tools and technology we have now to create the world we want.


  1. The real conflict here is not technology vs. neo-Luddites– it’s much deeper than that, as you can see by reactions to the worldwide food shortage. On the one hand, the same techies say that agriculture must be “revolutionized,” by which they mean corporatized. Throw the small farmers off their land because they’re inefficient, and send them to the cities to work in factories. I’m not exaggerating– I’ve heard this view quite often on NPR and read it on Yahoo finance.

    But the small farmer feeds his family through his efforts, regardless of what the price of food does. Send him to the factory and his income goes up, but so does his poverty. It looks great on paper, but human misery increases.

    We are at a crossroads, at which the need to support an overpopulated planet conflicts with the basic right of individual self-determination and the pursuit of happiness (is it actually an inalienable right?). Not just whether you drive an SUV for a hybrid sedan, but whether you have the right to choose what you eat, or even your own land use. Many of the “rights” we take for granted are in danger. And it’s not just small farmers like me who choose to try to be self-sustaining through low-tech, low-impact methods. It affects the entire food supply, the approach to global warming, and the very interaction of the economy with the individual.

    How far will we go to support the population’s right to overbreed? Because we’re already at the point where the very concept of individual choice is at risk. Capitalism may ultimately succeed where Marxist socialism failed: we may yet see an engineered society in which the freedom of the individual is completely irrelevant.

  2. How far will we go to support the population’s right to overbreed? Pretty damn far, since it’s a basic human drive, and there’s plenty of money to be made from it “while supplies last.”

    As far as the US is concerned, don’t look for any major shift in public attitudes on this until we see Americans–WHITE Americans–starving in large numbers.

    I am pretty old. I sure would hate to be young and have to live through the next 50 years.

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