Weird

What an odd world we live in when environmental activists feel the need to write about how horrible grass and open parks can be for the environment.

You may recently have come to accept that lawns are bad for the planet.

Isn’t it amazing someone can assume his readers accept this statement so much that he can use it as a starting point?  He goes on to discuss when public spaces are and are not bad for the environment.

It is incredible to me that somehow we have reached a world where absurdly dense urban living a la Manhattan is considered the most environmentally friendly way for humans to live.  All just another way in which an obsession with CO2 has corrupted the environmental movement.  I have predicted it before but will say it again — some day, the environmentalists will look back on their global warming hysteria as a couple of lost decades in their own movement, when focus on real environmental issues were kicked to the curb in favor of going all in on trace concentrations of carbon dioxide.

  • ADiff

    You’re correct, you did use the word “sentient”, which I read as a “sapient”….but my point stands. There are no such except humans.

    You may refer to Singer’s various books and essays to see he clearly advocates the ethics of enforced voluntary euthanasia, as dictated by some ‘higher’ authority of some kind…which ends up exactly where the NAZIs left off in any case. Of particular note I’d refer you to “Rethinking Life and Death”. He’s not just as bad as I make him out, he’s actually even worse. He very clearly argues that involuntary killing of humans for ‘utilitarian’ purposes is morally acceptable. In doing so he sweeps away all the progress made in a thousand years effort to banish such acceptance to its extremes. Once utilitarian murder is moral on any basis, and not merely condoned as a regrettable and evil yet unavoidable exceptions made in extremis, then any such death becomes not an evil in itself, but just a matter of differences of opinion as to utility. Even the executors of T4 believed they were acting with the best of intentions! It’s the ethics of the holocaust, of the terror of the Directory, of Pol Pot, of Stalin…..

    And there is no evidence at all for any animal except man being self-aware in the human sense. There are ‘suggestions’ and behavior some interpret as evidence of this, but nothing at all that’s clear or evident…at all. A comatose human has the same rights as any human, to whatever extent they are due respect by others, not on the basis of their individual behavior, but by the fact of being a member of the human species. I do see the ethical case as clear cut. Only humans have any rights of any kind at all. And animals have none at all, except those we decide to extend them. The special character of humans is as clear as the purely human existence of “rights” in any way at all. Rights (and ethics, and morality) exist solely as human concepts. Outside of ourselves they do not exist at all. They are, in fact, exclusive to us among all the species that exist on Earth at this time. In extending ‘rights’ beyond the one species that possesses such a thing in fact abolishes their basis completely, and provides the moral basis for arbitrary judgment by any party able to exercise the power to decide life and death on whatever basis they see useful. That’s the ultimate end of a simplistic democratic utilitarianism, or any ideology which argues value (the basis of rights as well as ethics and morality) can accrue anywhere except the individual. This applies to its externalization to groups of humans as much as to non-humans, and all such ideologies ultimate arrive at the same end, although not all achieve the same exercise of that end by any means!

  • Shills

    Adiff:

    You say: ‘There are no such except humans.’

    No animals that have conscious experience? No not true. Why do you think that?

    Adiff. Lay off Singer a bit. He is not advocating ‘some higher authority’ to decide moral judgements. He merely suggests a new system of ethical deliberation that lacks certain absolutist judgements. He suggests a more nuanced system which, contrary to the picture you paint, is about limiting suffering.

    You say: ‘He very clearly argues that involuntary killing of humans for ‘utilitarian’ purposes is morally acceptable.’

    He suggests that if the benefits out weigh the negatives in doing such, then it is possibly permissible. Do you think it is nec. right to let one man live if his living would kill a dozen others?

    utilitarianism is no more about ‘opinions’ than any other endeavour aimed at objectivity. The perfect ethical framework is one that is clear of any prejudice or bias. They are all after the objective truth.

    You say: ‘ …self-aware in the human sense. ‘

    Why does ‘this special character of humans’ and our ability to conceive of ideas such as rights entitle human lives to absolute moral superiority over animal lives? What is the reasoning that links the two together? Why does not the extent to which animals are self-aware count for anything ethically speaking?

    Anyway, you seem pretty convinced of your opinion re. animal ethics, which I don’t really care to argue against, but your belief that the case is clear-cut, though maybe to you, is not so in philosophy.

  • hunter

    Waldo,
    Your use of strawmen is going to force the EPA to go after you for making straw an endangered species.
    The AGW believer fallback position, that AGW must be true because Hansen and Mann are not pure evil, and there is no Dr. Evil plot behind AGW is boring and old and only shows you are not paying much attention.

  • grzejnik

    Herbicide and pesticide Run off and over irrigation are an environmental problem with grass. And a very big problem. There are companies that peddle this type of lawn care and its insidious only worse is what the homeowners themselves can buy in the big box stores and then misapply probably worse than the companies. C02 is not one of grass’s problems but it is the least desirable option. Plants, shrubs, perennials, etc… are much much better. But don’t mock the environemntalist because they got it wrong, take a look at this issue and the ramifications to waterways and general environmental health. The solution is no cost, just use different plants from now on.

  • Waldo

    “AGW must be true because Hansen and Mann are not pure evil”

    Never wrote that, my dear hunter. You just wrote that. You are arguing a point of contention that I did not contend. That is a strawman.

    I wrote – as I have written before – that AGW is unproven, or so it would see to me. I have also written and will write again that Mann and Hansen and that whole gang are doing what scientists do – they observe, analyze, and report. Certain groups of people, probably for entirely political reasons, don’t like what Mann, Hansen et al are saying and thus demonize them and grossly exaggerate, take out of context, and misconstrue what these scientists say and do.

    An Inquirer (who loves to play the ennobled intellectual) posted above a misstatement about Hansen, coal trains and the Holocaust. It is a perfect example of this mode of thinking.

    What did Hansen actually say? Let’s see: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/28/averting-our-eyes-james-hansens-new-call-for-climate-action/

    “Coal trains and reactions.

    “Recently a coal industry official tried to divert attention from the actions that are needed to solve the climate problem by criticizing a specific paragraph in my testimony opposing construction of a new coal-fired power plant that does not capture its CO2 emissions (LINK, pdf file). The paragraph in my testimony mischaracterized was:

    “Coal will determine whether we continue to increase climate change or slow the human impact. Increased fossil fuel CO2 in the air today, compared to the preindustrial atmosphere, is due 50% to coal, 35% to oil and 15% to gas. As oil resources peak, coal will determine future CO2 levels. Recently, after giving a high school commencement talk in my hometown, Denison, Iowa, I drove from Denison to Dunlap, where my parents are buried. For most of 20 miles there were trains parked, engine to caboose, half of the cars being filled with coal. If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains — no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.

    “This paragraph described thoughts that went through my head as I observed a remarkable string, mile after mile, of coal trains. My words did not resemble their reconstruction by the coal executive, and I certainly did not mean to trivialize suffering by the families who lost relatives in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, it is clear from reactions that several people were hurt by the words. Three scientific colleagues, including one who lost several relatives in the Holocaust, have expressed strong disappointment about the words. A much larger number of people expressed support for the statement, but I think that more weight must be given to those who objected, as their concerns were heartfelt and understandable.

    “My apology and discussion.

    “I regret that my words caused pain to some readers. I hope that they will accept my apology for having caused discomfort, an apology that is heartfelt. Here, not in defense of my words, rather to make two further points, I provide the comments of two other people:

    “Jim, I thought that your equating the coal trains in Iowa with holocaust death trains an apt and reasonable analogy. It does not at all trivialize the suffering and deaths of European Jews but rather is a tribute to them. They will not all have died in vain if the horror and inhumanity of the holocaust can be used to wake up the world to the catastrophic consequences of continued pollution of the earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide. XXXXX

    “Jim: As a Jew, who is sensitive about misuse of references to the holocaust, I found no problem with your metaphor… nor to your response to the CEO…except for the reference to “creation”! YYYYY

    “My supposition was that most people would take the reference in the way indicated by the first of the last two comments. One merit of references and memorials to the Holocaust is as a reminder that we cannot allow such an event again, we cannot avert our eyes. As for reference to “creation,” my feeling about that topic developed during a meeting with evangelical leaders on a Georgia plantation. We found no reason for conflict between science and religion, but many reasons for working together. We all felt strongly about the need for stewardship, for passing on to our children and grandchildren the planet that we received, with its remarkable forms of life.”

  • Michael Collard

    Waldo,

    You said, “An Inquirer (who loves to play the ennobled intellectual) posted above a misstatement about Hansen, coal trains and the Holocaust. It is a perfect example of this mode of thinking.”

    An Inquirer said, “Hansen has equated coal trains with Holocaust death trains.”

    In your comment, you present evidence that (at least to me) seems to confirm rather than contradict his statement.

    What am I missing?

  • Waldo

    Hi Mike, the context for Hansen’s unfortunate statement is entirely missing from An Inquiry’s comment and, I would suggest, also in your initial evaluation. Just look at the post. Hansen freely admits it was a bad choice of words and apologizes. He explains that this was the image he had in his head as he watched mile after mile of coal trains moving past. Then he writes very plainly, “I certainly did not mean to trivialize suffering by the families who lost relatives in the Holocaust.”

    Was it a poor choice of words? Certainly. But is it anything other than that? Not necessarily. The people on sites like CS will happily make a mountain out of a molehill as long as serves the purpose of demonizing the most formidable climate scientists. At some point down the line, the CS group will accuse “alarmists” of distorting facts and taking words out of context – it’s textbook. The people here have made a dozen such accusations already. However, even if this is true, we are dealing with a classic case of pot meets kettle.

  • John M

    “At some point down the line, the CS group will accuse “alarmists” of distorting facts and taking words out of context – it’s textbook. The people here have made a dozen such accusations already. However, even if this is true, we are dealing with a classic case of pot meets kettle.”

    And here I thought you didn’t have a sense of humor.

  • Michael Collard

    Waldo,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I’m still not seeing your point, because of the following:

    Hansen: “My supposition was that most people would take the reference in the way indicated by the first of the last two comments.”

    Which was:
    “Jim, I thought that your equating the coal trains in Iowa with holocaust death trains an apt and reasonable analogy. It does not at all trivialize the suffering and deaths of European Jews but rather is a tribute to them.”

    An Inquirer: “Hansen has equated coal trains with Holocaust death trains.”

    I do agree that this a bit of a “molehill”, so I’ll leave it at that.

    Thanks again.