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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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What is environmentalism? (Stevenson)

While standing in the parking lot at Alta, I noticed a significant number of “Protect Wild Utah” and “Save Our Canyons” environmental stickers on a number of SUVs.

I find it especially odd to see such stickers at a ski resort because decades-long pressure from U.S. environmental groups has prevented the opening of new resorts. It was also the more orthodox version of the same doctrine that burned down a resort lodge at Vail, Colo., in 1998-and took half the forest with it.

So just what is environmentalism and conservationism?

More often than not, they are groups that are their own worst enemy and political programs masked with the vanity of environmental care.

Problem one: conservation vs. human welfare

Conservationists wish to lock up resources so that future generations will have the “opportunity to enjoy them.”

In other words, if we cut down a tree, we are depriving future generations of its use.

What happens when a future generation needs it but can’t because it has been set aside for the future? Conservation means resources are never used and thus are truly wasted.

If we need it now, why should we curb our consumption for future generations who will probably have better technology and less need for the resources?

A common complaint from environmentalists is that our industrial lifestyle is causing record levels of pollution, resulting in higher rates of cancer and shorter life spans.

What is overlooked is that people buy SUVs, use plastics and prefer “less-organic” items, because they provide greater safety and longer life spans.

The same technology that extends and improves life often has negative environmental impacts. A cost-benefit analysis will reveal that the improvement to life that industry provides outweighs the damage it causes.

Ironically, the same people obsessed with saving and improving life also decry the “overpopulation” of the planet and want more birth control and abortion. They need to make up their minds, do they want more people or fewer?

As per capita income increases, pollution decreases. By far the worst pollution on the planet occurs in developing nations. If environmentalists want to reduce pollution, they should promote economic growth and not stifle it.

Problem two: land management vs. leaving nature alone

I’ve heard many enviro-types criticize the Bureau of Land Management for what they consider poor land management. But at the same time, they try to acquire more land to be placed under the management of the government. If your house is on fire, you don’t pour gas on it to fix the problem.

The coherency in this strategy lies in the desire for land to be public, yet exclusive in its use (no motorcycles).

A perfect example of this dysfunctional ideology is when Dixie national forest became infested with a spruce-killing bark beetle. It was proposed to spray pesticides to kill the beetle, but some environmental groups protested. In the end, all the trees died. A fire burned the forest down. Hundreds of animals then died due to loss of habitat and food. There have been flooding and erosion problems.

Thanks, environmentalists, for protecting the Earth.

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