Common Sense Environmentalism Means Rejecting Environmentalism
Above are the vast healthy forest that cover 90% or more of Appalachia. In this case my hometown of Norton, Virginia.
Common sense environmentalism must place human needs first, mitigate actual pollution, make proper use of resources, and employ reasonable conservation methods. Humans must always come first, not nature.
This needs to done from a personal perspective and action, not centralized planning or government control. It will take education in technology. Learn how things actually work and what is involved. Stay away from fads. If one is on a spiritual adventure go to church.
Should I grow my own food? Only if it makes economic sense. In an urban setting finding a spot to grew a small garden can be a problem. Tomatoes, green beans, etc. make sense. Trying to feed a family from a garden is stupid.
Many foods are cheaper from the store than growing them. Reason looks at actual cost and time. Try shelling peas or dry beans. Farming is labor intensive and so is gardening. Does one have access to a gas tiller? Does the space between some buildings get enough sun? Is the soil warm enough for the seeds to germinate? What is the soil PH? What about fertilizer? Never use raw sewage or animal dung directly!
I have grown carrots, potatoes, okra, yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, popcorn, and sunflowers. We know how to can, I have a food dehydrator, and a freezer.
It is a lot of work to shell popcorn. Sunflowers look pretty and I throw a head to my chickens who strip it clean of seeds. Same for corn on the cob. I feed my chickens commercial chicken feed while garden stuff and foraging supplement the feed at best. It makes no sense to grow chicken feed at $10 for a 50 pound bag.
They provide a big return in eggs, but it takes money to start.
In no practical way does a garden "save the planet" as the ecological spiritualists believe and one is foolish to think so. I raise food to eat and save money. I refuse to use organic seeds, etc. because the higher cost for no useful purpose is a waste of resources.
Canning and dehydration take energy. Freezers take energy. The tiller takes fuel to operate. Growing an actual garden takes work, energy, and monetary investment. Living on subsistence agriculture is misery which is so many Third-World people want to come here.
I use a wood stove. I burn dead wood, wood scrap, cardboard, etc. but never plastics or treated wood due to pollution. We also have a very efficient oil heater. The fact is the wood stove produces far more pollution than the oil heater or a commercial power plant for the same energy. And my stove is a new EPA approved model with heat exchanger.
Yet for the environmentalists wanting to limit or ban fossil fuels I have this question: Do you want 300 million people using wood stoves? Third-World countries lacking access to affordable energy burn wood and animal dung. This is bad on people and the environment.
While a wood stove can be cheap there is a number of costs. One has to have a chainsaw. There is a lot of labor involved, ashes to be hauled off. The danger of fire and injury also have to be addressed. Is wood available on my property? Do I even own property? What about a truck to haul wood? Buying firewood is expensive, cutting and splitting your own is a lot of work. I don't own a log splitter which is expensive.
Ways to save energy can be practical such as junking old refrigerators and replacing with a newer model. Same with a number of high energy appliances. LED lighting is a great energy saver once they became more affordable and worked properly.
Recycling for the sake of recycling sometimes makes no ecological sense. Recycling aluminum saves 90% of the energy used to produce new, thus make economic sense. Plastic bottles can cost more in energy and time than what it is worth.
I have slashed my electric bill at least 50% over the last 10 years. Changes in technology is the key. There is plenty of food and energy available today and the decades of whining from ecological doomsayers have been proven wrong.
Solar panels are expensive, energy intensive to manufacture, and produce a lot of toxic waste in the process. They become toxic waste when they wear out and can't be recycled. I have a few I use for charging batteries and as backup if a power outage. I built my own system and even saving money from that they are still not cost effective.
Wind mills are costly and inefficient. The rare earth metals used in the magnets leave mountains of toxic waste in China where most of it is mined. Same problem with lithium mining in 3rd world countries. Electric cars are too expensive until we get a break through in battery technology.
In the end common sense environmentalism may involve rejecting many of the "green" practices some advocate. Cost versus benefits must take priority over feelings. The situation varies from household to household. But if this is some spiritual journey or repentance from consumerism or climate guilt find a new religion.
New essays on this subject October 2018:
- Nature's End? Hardly
- Growing Up Under Armageddon Any Day
- The Intuitive Wisdom of Organic Gardening
- Common Sense Environmentalism and Reason
- Common Sense Environmentalism 50 Years of Observation
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