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  1. #1
    heart on fire
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    Default Politics of Environmentalism: Shame at our Existence?

    Thursday 21 August 2008

    There’s another word for ‘water neutrality’: death

    The demand that we should be ‘water wise’ shines a light on what lies behind the politics of environmentalism: shame at our existence.

    Brendan O’Neill

    Excerpt: "So, after the eco-footprint and the carbon footprint, now we have the ‘water footprint’. After all those eco-exhortations that we should feel guilty about how much carbon we use, now we’re told to be ‘conscious’ (which is a PC word for feeling guilty) about how much water we splash on our faces or flush down the toilet. When even our use of water, the very stuff of life, is problematised, transformed into a symbol of mankind’s thoughtlessness and greed, then we can see what really lies behind the politics of environmentalism: not so much scientific evidence that resources are running out as a powerful feeling that humans have no right to use those resources. The new obsession with water-use reveals the discomfort with human life itself that courses through the veins of environmentalism, and the contemporary sense of shame about humanity’s presence on the planet....

    The only question worth asking is not ‘why are we using so much water?’ (because we are alive and thriving, that’s why) but ‘how can decent water be delivered to every single human being on the planet?’ Of course there are water shortages around the world. Some Third World countries suffer from terrible water scarcity. Millions and millions of people do not have access to clean drinking water – and often these are the same people who toil for hours every day throwing water on to crops that will end up in a Sainsbury’s or Waitrose in the UK. However, not a single one of these social problems will be resolved by inducing guilt in British consumers or doing strange sums to convince us that our tweed jacket has 29.733333 (recurring) litres of ‘virtual water’ in it.

    These problems demand super-ambitious, large-scale industrial projects: dams, reservoirs, dykes, canals, manmade rivers and lakes, sewage systems, more investment in GM crops that can grow even in arid conditions. Instead we get a Catholic-style campaign designed to make Western consumers feel conscious/guilty about their water-use.

    This cuts to the essence of the politics of environmentalism. The panic over dwindling resources – whether its oil or what is now called the ‘new oil’: water – is not based on hard evidence that this stuff is running out, but on a lack of belief that we are capable of delivering it to one and all, and, more profoundly, on a conviction that we shouldn’t really be using it in the first place. Just as the idea of the eco-footprint implies that mankind is a destructive, plague-like presence on the planet, so ‘water consciousness’ calls into question the value of human life itself...."(more at link)

  2. #2
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    I think that environmental crisis is much worse then people know. But here, there are some principles that will lead us nowhere.
    That principles are dangerous because entire problem now look like entertainment for idiots.
    Last edited by Virtual ghost; 08-24-2008 at 11:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    I think that environmental crisis is much worse then people know.
    Yes, I'm with you on this one. It probably is worse. But the way I see it, soon it doesn't matter, since the cost of energy will start rising after we pass the peak oil. It will hit a lot sooner than the waters rise. Economy slows down, some countries fall and no one remembers anything about global warming. The global market economy isn't made for flatlining or declining, so it will break. Most countries will switch back to coal plants and polar caps are about done. I'd be amazed to see todays superpowers up and running after a hundred years.

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    Everything's gonna be fine.

  5. #5
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    Thanks I feel much better now.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    Yes, I'm with you on this one. It probably is worse. But the way I see it, soon it doesn't matter, since the cost of energy will start rising after we pass the peak oil. It will hit a lot sooner than the waters rise. Economy slows down, some countries fall and no one remembers anything about global warming. The global market economy isn't made for flatlining or declining, so it will break. Most countries will switch back to coal plants and polar caps are about done. I'd be amazed to see todays superpowers up and running after a hundred years.
    When oil and coal become uneconomic, solar, wind, and hydro, and nuclear take over.

    The only countries that will fall are those that rely on oil to sustain their economies, namely the Middle East, which is a great thing for those countries to go to hell, and Russia, which will probably invent a new gimmick by then.
    I am an ENTJ. I hate political correctness but love smart people ^_^

  7. #7
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    The point is not really are enviromental concerns valid, but how are those concerns being used to bring in other agendas that have nothing to do with solving the real problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    The point is not really are enviromental concerns valid, but how are those concerns being used to bring in other agendas that have nothing to do with solving the real problems.
    Well, I think peak oil is about this, since there isn't that much talk about it, while the global warming is in the news every week. The greenhouse has become so media sexy subject that it drops off something that is much more acute and should really be explained to people now.

    Quote Originally Posted by IlyaK1986 View Post
    When oil and coal become uneconomic, solar, wind, and hydro, and nuclear take over.

    The only countries that will fall are those that rely on oil to sustain their economies, namely the Middle East, which is a great thing for those countries to go to hell, and Russia, which will probably invent a new gimmick by then.
    I don't have the time to explain this now too deeply (and as heart said it could be out topic), but we are talking about huge amounts of energy that is not impossible to produce by other means, but so close to impossible that it isn't probable.

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    Most of these agendas are profit motivated. First come up with a song and dance routine to convince the public that they are in dire jeopardy. Then jump in with a rescue plan that involves loads of tax dollars going into the hero's pockets.

  10. #10
    Senior Member LunarMoon's Avatar
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    To be honest I must say that I agree with this essay but with an absence of projects to fix the current water scarcity in Third World Countries there's little to be said about the problem. Businesses will see no need to go about these expensive dam and sewage system projects without being convinced of an economic benefit and within many of these nations the governments are too poor and disorganized to begin large-scale construction by themselves. As with the issue of world hunger the dilemma isn't so much about the water (though important) but the international distribution of water.
    Surgeons replace one of your neurons with a microchip that duplicates its input-output functions. You feel and behave exactly as before. Then they replace a second one, and a third one, and so on, until more and more of your brain becomes silicon. Since each microchip does exactly what the neuron did, your behavior and memory never change. Do you even notice the difference? Does it feel like dying? Is some other conscious entity moving in with you?
    -Steven Pinker on the Ship of Theseus Paradox

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