Tag Archives: global warming

The Climate Change Circus Comes to Town.

By: Chris Warren.

My seven year old nephew is quite a showman. He doesn’t take things too seriously and can come up with some very clever one-liners, just like his uncle. What’s best about his style is that he is funny when he does not intend to be. This trait is common in children and sometimes adults, except when adults do it, it’s seldom cute and charming. Few things are more pitiful than adults who want to be taken seriously then go about playing a fool in a way that makes you wish, really wish, they are not doing it on purpose. They ought to consider getting a job in the circus  so they can at least be paid for acting like clowns.

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, New York City was host to the “People’s Climate March.” Yes, they had an impressive crowd. Yes, they have a legitimate cause, sort of. Yet, they are closer to being like my nutty young nephew than they’d like to admit.

It didn’t matter that the marchers left behind tons and tons of garbage and litter; left wing media outlets have gone through gyrations worthy of a side show contortionist to explain the mess away. It did not matter that two of their headline acts, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and internet inventor/ex-vice president Al Gore, live lifestyles that puke more carbon than most entire American neighborhoods (did they at least share a private jet to NYC?). It did not even matter that the New York transit system added a whole lot of extra energy-gulping busses and trains to accommodate the party.ByFj0axCQAAuKfq

As I have observed in this blog before here and here, liberals are weirdly obsessed with feelings and appearances over actual results. To them, hundreds of thousands of people walking around with signs is more desirable than the same number of people cleaning local parks, planting gardens, or calling their congressman. Why? Because cleaning, planting, and calling do not make a worldwide media event. The march was timed to coincide with a United Nations summit on climate change, which itself was a ridiculous circus that accomplished absolutely zero, unless agreeing to meet again next year counts as an “accomplishment”. U.N. press releases not unexpectedly omitted the detail that many of the biggest polluter countries did not think the summit was important enough to send representatives to. Think of it as a Big Top where the  trapeze act, lion tamers, and elephants are taking the day off.

Huge crowds of Climate Marchers walking up the street did not even succeed in the superficial goal of making a lasting impression. Within twenty four hours it was a news cycle has-been. They walked around, chanted, made a few speeches, dumped their plastic water bottles and signs on the street for someone else to clean up, then left, secure in the self-indulgent belief that they are pioneering activists who made a real difference. A small minority of faithful will continue to work on environmental issues, but they were already doing that anyway. The other 97% were just there to party, feel good, and spread the smug on Facebook. Marchers: You won over no new soldiers to your cause, not even yourselves. A month from now almost no one will care about or remember the People’s Climate March.ByEn5-DIcAA359Y

Meanwhile in emerging countries around the globe, millions are living hand to mouth in abject poverty. They cook on open fires, assuming they can find something to cook, and get around on smoking, barely-running motor scooters. The climate movement, the one that claims a desire to lift up the poor, wants to take this away from them. Here in the United States, the average poor man barely scraping up enough cash to eat is being lectured that he’s better off paying more –much more, actually– for an organic, non-genetically modified version of his daily bread. The environmental movement is perfectly happy to restrict resources to those who have very little to begin with because the environmental movement’s acolytes are disproportionately wealthy and either either don’t realize or don’t care that the five bucks they blow on a pound of organic tomatoes is more than some people have to spend on food for an entire week.

On the day of the Climate March, other ordinary citizens all across America calmly went about their business recycling aluminum cans, tending their gardens, collecting rainwater, and doing meaningful volunteer work. Farmers went out to their fields and busted their asses to put food on all our tables just as they have every single day since the beginning of civilized man. For my part, I did some fine tuning on my solar panels. We had no party, no sanctimonious speeches, no manufactured “hey look at me!” moment. Any one of us did more good that day than all the efforts of the entire march. If anyone noticed us, it was by accident, and that’s the way we like it. True environmentalists are about doing, and walking through downtown Manhattan with a sign in one hand and a Starbuck’s cup in the other is not “doing” anything. Environmental problems will never be solved by people who have absolutely no intention of putting any effort into the cause beyond showing up for one  event.  The true agents of change were nowhere near Manhattan that day.

Almost every kid has given at least a passing thought to running away and joining the circus. All they know is that the circus is music, crazy acts, stunts, fun. They don’t see the hours of rehearsal and tending to animals that happens before and after every show. When the show is over, the spectators get to leave. That’s why for most of the marchers, the environmental movement will never be more than a form of entertainment. Everyone wants to be in the circus; no one wants to help put up the tent. My cute little nephew may get away with being a goof because of his age, but the march participants have to rise above second grade antics  If they expect to see any progress on keeping the planet green. The People’s Climate March is proof that the environmental movement needs fewer clowns and more dung shovelers.



earth day 2016

Earth Day Should Not Have A Reason To Exist.

By: Chris Warren.

Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on April 19, 2014. We are reposting it for Earth Day 2015 with a few edits and updates.

I’m going to say up front that today’s blog article is not going to be a conservative hit piece on Earth Day, nor will it be a sappy New Age love song about windmills and composting. As someone who has been a strict vegetarian for close to three decades, incorporates numerous meaningful green practices into his life, and is gun-toting, flag-waving Libertarian (which is not the same as a liberal), I feel I have an understanding of this issue that belies the absolute left and right attitudes that define it.

April 22 is Earth Day, and for political liberals, leftover hippies, and various eco-activist groups, it’s a High Holy Day. Started by flower children in 1970 on the momentum of anti-Vietnam counterculture, Earth Day has evolved into a slick, professionally organized international media spectacle complete with its own website and corporate sponsors. Like all things liberal, Earth Day is heavy on shallow sentimentality, squishy platitudes, and calls for “investments” in green projects (taxescoughtaxes). The real message: We simpletons need big government liberalism to save us from our own stupid. And like all things conservative, Earth Day is an opportunity for overt mockery and to dismiss environmentalism out of hand, because in the Orthodox Church of “drill, baby, drill!” it’s apostasy to even hint that the green movement has a legitimate point buried in there somewhere, especially if it interferes with making a lot of money.

I absolutely do believe in a clean environment and the premise behind Earth Day. I also have a big issue with advancing the cause via rules and edicts that make for good press releases but never achieve their intended goal. I’ve spent a lot of time arguing with myself over how to resolve my conviction that we need to stop trashing the planet against my conservative sensibilities of resisting at every chance an egalitarian nanny state that, especially regarding environmental policy, regulates our lives down to the ridiculous, up to and including federal standards for…shower heads?

Years before recycling became fashionable, I was lugging magazines and aluminum cans down from my 12th floor college dorm to a recycling center on the other side of campus. Back then, recycling required considerable dedication and muscle. As one can guess, hardly anyone bothered. Today, recycling is as straightforward as placing recyclables at the curb where they are picked up along with garbage. My neighborhood even has entrepreneurially-minded scrappers who will scoop up discarded appliances, hot water heaters, bikes, BBQ grills, and whatever metallic waste suburbia tosses away. I don’t know how much money they make, but it must be pretty good because there are more than one of them patrolling the streets competing for junk every week. In many locales, recycling has developed to the point that there aren’t any good excuses not to do it.

Renewable energy is one area that has made considerable progress but is still a long way from being a real game changer. Even with tax incentives and subsidies (which I have a problem with), the bang for the buck is just not there. I will be well into retirement before my roof full of solar panels pay themselves off. Fortunately for me, my motivations are not solely about money. For most, the start up costs of green energy for individual use is well beyond the budget. Germany is often held up as a proud example of a “successful” national renewable energy program, but the rationalization works only if affordability is taken out of the equation.

For the Germans, solar energy may be an environmental win but it is collapsing as a business model due in no small part to regulatory overreach and meddling. Progressives here in the United states have been trying for years, but they cannot come up with a talking point that gets them over the mountain of government incompetence. Green energy will never evolve beyond the fringe unless it becomes cost effective, and it will never be cost effective without free market-based energy policy. The environmental movement will never, ever embrace this simple truth. They run their mouths about how the US should emulate Germany’s example while completely blowing off the ugly fact that it is breaking the bank.

A recurring theme in my blog is making fun of the left for doing things just to feel good. It’s not an unfair criticism: A major piece of liberal dogma is that good intentions and feelings are a valid substitute for reality and actual results. But here’s where I split with conservatives: While liberals are all about being warm and happy even if nothing gets done, conservatives seem to be of the attitude that the value of something is proportional to the amount of difficulty and sacrifice needed to do it. Or to put it another way, if something is enjoyable it’s either not worth doing or you are not working hard enough. Some of the most pissed off, bitter people I know are conservative, possibly because they have forgotten that life can’t always be about that hard journey going for the gold. But what if I can do something that really does produce results and I can feel good about it…what’s wrong with that?

Unfortunately, most of what passes as “environmentalism” is really just fluff. Earth Day will have plenty of celebrity appearances and petition signings and resurrected Joni Mitchell songs. Within twenty four hours everyone will go back to what they were doing before. They have conned themselves into thinking they are environmentalists because they plop a blue bin full of junk mail at the end of the driveway every week. Toss in an annual one day feel good retro hippy trip and they are completely sold on the hustle. I don’t know what’s worse: Liberals who pretend to be environmentalists with their hollow showmanship or conservatives who never claimed to care in the first place.

I no longer accept the idealism of my youth that had me thinking I could singlehandedly save the world one aluminum can at a time. But it is within my reach to save my little slice of this big huge planet. Decades out of college dorm life, I’m still recycling. I’ve also been on solar panels for a while. They aren’t enough to run the whole house, but I can produce a significant chunk of my electricity with them. When I switched to a vegetarian diet 27 years ago, it was not for environmental reasons. Since then I’ve learned a lot about how dirty and energy-intensive meat production really is, and how many thousands of gallons of water are needed to produce just one pound of beef. I work only a little over a mile from where I live; some weeks I rack up less than 25 miles on my vehicles. When the weather is good I get around on a motorcycle. These are things I do all the time, not just for display purposes. I don’t wear my environmentalism on my sleeve and people who do annoy the hell out of me, especially since most of them are pretenders.

Those of us who live our lives as if every day were Earth Day are a little vexed about the concept of waiting for a special occasion to take positive action towards keeping the planet clean, nor do we feel a need to show off how “green” we are. True Earth Day practitioners divorce themselves from the fad of environmentalism and go quietly about their eco-friendly business. It’s a lifestyle, not a hobby or a holiday. Conservatives will be pleased to know that when done properly it requires effort and is often a challenge; liberals can be assured that in the end, yes, it feels good. In a truly honorable world, there would be no need to reserve a spot on the calendar to commemorate what everyone should have been doing the whole time anyway.

Editor’s note: For previous articles about the energy and the environment, please check out “The Linguistics of Climate Change” and “Solar Energy Gives Us The Power to Feel Good.” 

Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on April 19, 2014. We are reposing it for Earth Day 2015 with a few edits and updates.