Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recycling Blog Posts to Conserve Energy

Evidently, my blog has not led to a global philosophical revolution because I continue to be admonished to "conserve" and "recycle" (kids shows are rife with environmentalism!). So in the spirit of conservation and recycling I am going to recycle some posts from my past that unfortunately are still relevant. Now, I have linked to them, but I want you to conserve your own energy and not have to waste extra electricity on the key strokes so I am reprinting them. Here is a post from August 2007:

"A Simple Question For Environmentalists"

Here is an article contending that environmentalists are now hating bottled water because of the er, well, bottles. Apparently, too many bottles are bad and they need to be added to the ever growing list of stuff we are not supposed to use.

So, here is my simple question for any environmentalist to answer: Where should the bottles be (or cans, etc.)?

Think about it for a minute. Let's say there is some aluminum sitting in the ground in Colorado. Consequently, I have nothing but air in my hand. Now, someone shapes the aluminum into a can and I obtain it. Now, I have the aluminum in my hand and there is air in Colorado (where the can used to be.) But you see, there is no net gain or loss of aluminum because aluminum is matter (in fact, its one of the elements in the periodic table) and matter can not be created or destroyed.

So what does it matter if the aluminum is sitting in the ground in Colorado, or sitting in my hand while I drink something from it, or sits in my garbage can, or sits in the ground in another state in a garbage dump. The aluminum has to be somewhere!! Why is it better in the ground in Colorado doing nothing?

It's as if when we use a bottle, there is a net gain of earth material in such a way that at some point there will be too much earth which will pile up. But, in reality, there is a finite amount of earth. If there is some more earth over here, then there must be less earth somewhere else. The only possible problem would be if we literally shipped the aluminum by space craft to another planet or something. Would that make the environmentalists happy? Or, would if we just took the cans back to the mine where they originally came from and used the mine as a dump? The environmentalists could then just pretend that nothing ever happened!

That goes for the plastic bottles too. The plastic is made of material. To the extent that the material in the bottle is in my house or at the dump it therefore implies that that material is not somewhere else. And on top of this, the plastic in the bottle is practically inert. It literally does nothing but sit there for eons. (in fact, would if we just turned the whole earth into one giant bottle - then nothing could change which I think is what they want, right?)

I would rather have plastic bottles than something natural like poison ivy or snakes or mosquitoes in my yard. Plastic doesn't itch or hurt or bite or anything!

So, to all environmentalists, tell us, where should stuff be?

[update: I keep hearing things like "diapers don't decompose for 70 years or twinkies have a half life of 5,000 years, etc. ... isn't that good? If they are effectively inert (like plastic), then they won't hurt us.)

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The second post from July 2008 was titled:

What Does Conservation Really Mean?

I keep hearing calls for more conservation as a "solution" to the so-called energy crisis. But what does "conservation" mean? Here is the definition according to the Oxford Dictionary:

• noun 1 preservation or restoration of the natural environment and wildlife. 2 preservation and repair of archaeological, historical, and cultural sites and artefacts. 3 careful use of a resource: energy conservation. 4 Physics the principle by which the total value of a quantity (e.g. mass or energy) remains constant in a closed system.

So, if the environmentalists are calling for conservation does this mean they want us to "preserve" crude oil deposits? Do they mean that we should "preserve" them so that little children who now ride bikes will someday be able to access them? In other words, are they saying that they are not against consumption of crude oil per se but only present consumption? Are they saying they are all for consuming crude oil as long as it is not us doing the consuming? Do they really believe that people that do not yet exist should be the ones who consume it? Why should we save it for people that don't exist yet? Why not just use it? If we run out, the price will increase and people will find another source of energy.

Of course, this is not what the environmentalists mean by "conservation." A more accurate term to describe what environmentalists mean by "conservation" would be the term "destruction" or better yet "sacrifice".

They want us to live more like cavemen than modern man. In other words, they want us to use less earth to survive. But, humans can only survive by using the earth. Therefore, to argue that we should use less earth to survive is tantamount to arguing that we should live a poorer quality of life now. Furthermore, they do not want us to live poorer so that future men can live better as the term "conservation" implies. They want humans to adjust to simply living a poorer quality of life which in turn will lead to less humans. This is entirely consistent with the philosophy of intrinsic value. The environmentalist sees nature as intrinsically valuable, i.e., valuable apart from man's standard of living and therefore, man's nature is the logical enemy of the environmentalist as man must alter nature to survive.

It is time to challenge the Orwellian term "conservation" and force the environmentalists to define their terms explicitly.

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